The process of fighting piracy and copyright infringement has become increasingly difficult with the advent of new technologies. The transitioning of music and videos to an online platform has impacted the entertainment industry as well as consumers. The availability of online content has changed the way consumers purchase and listen to music. There are several legal channels available for consumers to obtain music and videos online, through live stream, on demand, pay per view, live tv, and other authorized music services and websites. However, consumers are also using unlawful means to obtain music and videos through illegal file sharing. Amongst these means, the most popular are peer-to-peer (P2P) networks that allow users to connect directly to each other and create a network of file sharing.
While it is illegal to download and distribute copyrighted content without permission, it is considered to be a widespread practice. The expectation for uninformed consumers is that it is acceptable to download anything from the Internet and that they are doing nothing wrong. However, even among those who know it is illegal, some still continue to download illegally, believing that their downloads would not create much harm to the entertainment industry or that they will not be caught. As for content owners, the expectation is that consumers pay for the products through the available legal options; and that if they do not, there should be a system to deter them from such behavior. To begin, we will examine the precedented copyright laws that have influenced the Copyright Alert System -- commonly referred to as CAS, being enforced today.
Piracy has been at the helm of concern for the Entertainment industry, its constituencies, the government, and consumers since 1996 when the World Intellectual Properties Organization treaty was adopted by states that were apart of WIPO. The treaty was adopted and deemed necessary to expand with the advances of information technology. This provided authors of works with control of rental and distribution. The treaty also prevents circumvention of technological measures for the protected works. This treaty failed to address the Internet service provider and did not offer any punishment to deter piracy.
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 that was signed into copyright law by President Bill Clinton, extended penalties for the unlawful production and dissemination of technology, devices, or services intended to circumvent measures that control access to copyrighted works. The DMCA does not deem the online service providers accountable for infringed content on their sites. Providers can safely harbor content without being held liable. Internet users are unsatisfied with this reality because this weighs heavily on the interests of Internet Service Providers (ISPs).
In a case between Viacom v. YouTube in which Viacom sued YouTube and its corporate parent company Google for copyright infringement the DMCA proved the...