In a voluntary self-policing effort most likely intended to help safeguard their Communications Decency Act (“CDA”) Section 230 immunity from suit, several Internet Service Providers (“ISPs”) have created a “Copyright Alert System” (“CAS”) to allow content owners the opportunity to report piracy, through which “strikes” can be issued to Internet service users as a warning for piracy. This YouTube user who I can’t identify as an authority, has a few generally accurate, and fairly informative videos about the CAS regime. It’s not clear whether this user is a representative of the ISPs or not. Comcast also has a pretty good set of faqs on the CAS.
Essentially, the CAS allows content owners to identify infringing IP addresses after verifying that infringement is taking place by P2P (“peer to peer”) file sharing. The ISP then sends a warning to the Internet service user who had that IP address at the relevant time. After multiple warnings the Internet service user may be required to view a video about piracy, and after several warnings that user’s service may be “throttled,” or slowed down to make piracy more difficult or time-consuming. The CAS includes an arbitration process for challenging warnings (Russell’s teapot: How do you prove you weren’t pirating?), but no circumstance under which an Internet service user’s account is to be terminated.
How long did it take for this page to load? Not fast enough for you? Well you might just have a potential lawsuit on your hands.
While my cynical humor may seem funny to some and sad to others, it also has grains of truth. In this age of digital consumer sophistication and the debate over net neutrality some consumers have taken to the Courts to enforce ISP speed and bandwidth claims.
The holidays are right around the corner if you can believe it. With that said, retailers are preparing for another Black Friday. While the big name stores are getting ready for the onslaught of consumers both in the store on Black Friday and online on Cyber Monday, they aren’t the only ones getting ready for the holiday season.
So, do you happen to have an unused Internet Protocol number block sitting around? If so, you might unwittingly be sitting on a valuable asset. A battle is brewing to determine whether an IP number block should be recognized as a registration (like a phone number) with no inherent asset value, no right to title, and no right to transfer or whether it is to be considered an asset owned by the assigned organization. An August 2011 ruling in the bankruptcy case of Nortel Networks Corp., in which the court agreed to the sale of over 666,000 IPv4 addresses to Microsoft Corporation for $7.5 million, would seem to indicate that an IP number block should be considered an asset that can be sold freely. But, it’s not quite so simple.