The Copyright Alert System Is Absurdly Hard To Trigger

You might remember the Copyright Alert System better as the Six Strikes plan, wherein if you stole Hollywood’s precious content, you got nasty letters and your Internet speed throttled. It was supposed to have kicked in in February, but researchers recently found that it’s a bit slow on the uptake.

Essentially, a study attempting to find the limits of the Copyright Alert System did the online equivalent of streaking naked in a pirate hat with an activity log of all the downloading they’d been doing stapled to their junk and got a big fat zilch for their efforts.

…the investigative team made no attempt to disguise its IP address, and no attempt to block connections from IPs that might belong to MarkMonitor or other copyright tracking services.

After downloading all that content, then came the waiting game. They let all those files seed—upload to other users—each night. But after three weeks of providing free entertainment to downloaders all over the world, Verizon never came knocking.

This doesn’t mean, of course, that the CAS isn’t turned on, or that it’s not working, but it does mean one of three things is happening:

1) Verizon, which isn’t legally liable for what people do on its network, just doesn’t care.

2) The Copyright Alert System is very, very slow on the uptake.

3) It simply can’t handle all the traffic.

The last one seems to be the most likely; for all the grandiose claims many entrepreneurs make about watching the entire Internet, that’s damn near impossible in reality. And considering the CAS is used by the biggest Internet providers in the country, it’s likely buried under traffic.

Either way, we’ll be interested to see what happens when the CAS has to cough up a few numbers to justify its existence in a few months.