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.
The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), an internet privacy advocacy group, filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request on Wednesday with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for the full release of its report on the investigation of Google Street View. Google Street View was under investigation for the collection and storage of data from unencrypted wireless networks. The investigation started when it was determined that Google Street View collected data about personal online usage from unsecured Wi-Fi networks for four years while intending to simply collect the locations of Wi-Fi access points. Read more
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.