Study shows anti-piracy Copyright Alert System doesn’t work very well


In case you already forgot about it, the Copyright Alert System launched in the US in late February. We covered it pretty extensively. But even if you did completely forget about it, we wouldn’t blame you. A study meant to gauge how easy it is to trigger the CAS has revealed that the system, that many people got worked up over, is far from perfect.

Details of the study were shared with the Daily Dot, which consisted of using Verizon as a test internet provider. The study tried to “get the attention of the CAS in the most obvious way possible” by downloading BitTorrent, obtaining torrent files from the most popular torrent site, The Pirate Bay, and selecting the most pirated TV episode of all-time, the season 3 premiere of Game of Thrones. For good measure, they also downloaded popular Rihanna songs that trigger similar systems in other countries, as well as The Avengers. To increase the chances of getting caught, they made no attempt to disguise their IP or encrypt their downloads.

What happens next is pretty interesting. After the downloads completed, they let the files seed every single night as they waited for Verizon to send them an email about the pirated content. This continued until the study was complete — 3 weeks of constant downloading and seeding with no alert from the Copyright Alert System in sight.

This doesn’t necessarily mean the Copyright Alert System doesn’t work. In fact, the reason why they chose The Avengers is because someone online shared that their little brother had received a CAS warning when they downloaded it. The test was also limited  to Verizon as an ISP — things might be completely different on other providers.

But the key thing to take away here is that the Copyright Alert System, in its current state, isn’t perfect. While it reportedly flags some users, it’s clear now that sometimes it doesn’t even notify some of the more blatant acts of downloading copyright content. And who knows how many people are being wrongfully flagged and inconvenienced by the CAS?

Either way, the system is in its early days — that much is clear now.

[via Daily Dot]

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