U.K. Announces Massive Copyright Reform: Scraps Website Blocking, Allows CD Copying, Music Parodies
U.K. Announces Massive Copyright Reform: Scraps Website Blocking, Allows CD Copying, Music Parodies

Expect U.S. Internet service providers to roll out their "copyright alert systems" later this year, says Jill Lesser, the newly appointed executive director of the Center for Copyright Information (CCI).

The July 2011 memorandum of understanding between a group of U.S. Internet service providers, the MPAA and the RIAA outlined a system for alerting subscribers of their copyright infringements and educating them on the importance of avoiding infringement as well as legal alternatives.

"I do think you will definitely see a roll-out of the system this year," Lesser tells Billboard.biz.

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The hiring of Lesser was one of three announcements made Monday by the CCI, which was formed last September as a collaborative effort between music and movie industries and MPAA, the RIAA and a group of leading and regional Internet service providers including Verizon, Comcast, AT&T and Time Warner Cable. The organization also announced the members of its advisory board and the overseer of its independent review process.

Lesser has had a long career in a consumer protection and copyright. She was the Deputy Director of Public Policy and Director of the Civic Media Project at the advocacy group People for the American Way. She has been a Senior Vice President for Domestic Public Policy for AOL Time Warner, Inc. and is currently a board member of the non-profit public interest group Center for Democracy and Technology.

A major component of the 2011 memorandum of understanding is a "copyright alert" system in which entertainment companies will monitor P2P networks and alert ISPs of infringements by their subscribers. Measures taken by ISPs will graduate from a simple notice of infringement to "mitigation measures" that could include throttling bandwidth speeds and redirection of landing pages that can't be passed without calling the ISP. Each individual Internet service provider will decide which mitigation measures it will use.

The CCI also announced Monday the membership of its advisory board: Jerry Berman, the chairman of the Internet Education Foundation and founder of the Center for Democracy and Technology; Marsali Hancock, the president of iKeepSafe.org, a non-profit that focuses on digital products' impact on children; Jules Polenetsky, the current director and co-chair of the Future of Privacy Forum; and Gigi Sohn, attorney and co-founder of Public Knowledge.

Lesser says the composition of the advisory board was the result of "making sure we had various interests represented." Sohn, a frequent critic of entertainment companies' anti-piracy efforts, is a good example of the CCI's goal of inclusiveness. In particular, she called the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) "very bad intellectual property bills" and "drastic remedies" while calling into question the piracy-related damages claimed by the content industry.

Finally, the CCI announced the American Arbitration Association will manage the program's independent review process, a system for people who think they were incorrectly served an infringement noticed. The memorandum of understanding outlines seven grounds for a granting an independent review to an ISP subscriber, including misidentification of account, unauthorized use of account, misidentification of the file and fair use.

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