BitTorrent Users Try, Unsuccessfully, To Trigger Copyright Alert System

The recently launched Copyright Alert System — a joint venture between big-time content creators and the major Internet service providers — is supposed to trigger a series of alerts and warnings when a subscriber of a participating ISP appears to be illegally sharing copyrighted content. But some who put CAS to the test say they were able to share several items without being flagged.

According to the Daily Dot, the original intention was not to test the system’s effectiveness, but to trigger an alert and learn first-hand how flagged consumers can defend themselves under CAS’s “six strikes” program, which sends five warning notices before ultimately taking action against an alleged file-sharer.

The test was done using a standard residential account through Verizon, which is one of the ISPs that was involved with CAS from its launch in late February. The tester went to Pirate Bay — for those unfamiliar, that’s the world’s largest torrent site — and began downloading and sharing content that should have, in theory, triggered a CAS alert.

Among the torrented files from the test were the season 3 premiere of HBO’s Game of Thrones, some Rihanna songs, and the superhero film The Avengers. All of these are known to be popular with illegal file-sharers, and some are known to have triggered CAS alerts for downloaders.

If you mask your computer’s IP address — and numbers showed that many people looked into this immediately after the launch of CAS — it can make it difficult, if not impossible to trigger an alert. But the testers in this case were intending to get flagged, and so made no effort to hide their IP address or block it from being seen by copyright tracking services.

The testers not only downloaded the files but continued sharing them with other BitTorrent users for three weeks, waiting for some sort of indication from Verizon that they had been flagged by CAS.

But before you sail on over to the Pirate Bay and think you can begin file-sharing with impunity again, remember that this is just a single test of a very new system. It’s also possible that Verizon is sending out batches of alerts and simply hasn’t gotten around to notifying the testers that they have indeed been flagged.

“The results of this study do not prove, by any means, that the CAS isn’t working,” cautions Daily Dot, which adds that it does not condone piracy. “It just didn’t work in this instance, in a limited test of just one of the five participating ISPs.”

[via TheVerge]

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