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Infopost on CAS
I’ve seen a lot of misinformation going around about CAS, the Copyright Alert System, AKA the Six Strikes system. Hopefully this will clear things up.
What CAS isn’t:
- CAS is not a law. It is not SOPA or CISPA. It does not directly involve law enforcement agencies.
- CAS cannot see the files already on your hard drive.
- CAS cannot directly monitor your internet traffic.
- CAS does not give a flying fuck about your reaction gifs, manips, fanfiction, etc.
- Rightsholders cannot directly see your personal information such as name and address without getting a subpoena. They must go through your ISP, who already has that information connected to your IP because you pay them.
What CAS is:
- CAS is a partnership between major rightsholders such as the MPAA and RIAA, among others, with major American ISPs AT&T, Cablevision, Verizon, Comcast, and Time Warner Cable.
- The copyright holders monitor major public bittorrent trackers. They get the IPs of users downloading infringing files, and notify their ISPs.
- The ISP then steps in to give users warnings. This begins with emails and phone calls, but quickly escalates to forcing you to watch copyright propaganda, blocking your access to certain sites, and eventually capping your internet speeds or restricting your internet access entirely.
- There is an appeals process, which must be done within 14 days of the warning and costs $35 per appeal.
- For repeat infringers, the copyright holders may seek legal action. To do this they would need to subpoena your personal information from your ISP. All they have before that is your IP address.
Why this is bad:
- It violates presumption of innocence.
- It sets a precedent for corporate vigilante justice—corporations finding and punishing crime in a manner they see fit.
- It poses a serious threat to internet cafes and libraries that offer public internet access, making vital services less accessible to disadvantaged and impoverished Americans. Edit: Yes, this is true. Even though large corporations like Starbucks might still be able to provide free wifi, providing free wifi at all is against the TOS in most business internet packages. This means that most of the free internet available to people is technically not supposed to be offered, but this is not enforced. This could leave many people, especially the rural poor, without internet when they had internet before.
- It is a form of censorship.
- It violates the right to privacy.
- We are piratey pirates who like to pirate.
How to not get in trouble:
- Secure your wifi connection, and make sure all members of your household understand what CAS is and how to avoid problems with it.
- If you download copyrighted material, do not use public bittorrent trackers without a VPN. There are multiple alternatives: cyberlockers, Usenet, IRC, FTP, private bittorrent trackers, etc. Avoiding major public torrent sites like The Pirate Bay entirely is the safest way. Downloading material not protected by any of the CAS affiliates is probably relatively safe. (Anime, warez, bookz, etc.) If you must use a public tracker, use a VPN. FYI, Usenet and the good VPNs are not free. The other things mentioned here generally are.
- Google instructions for these things if you don’t know what the fuck I’m talking about.
How to fight CAS:
- There’s some White House petitions: check out this one here and this one over here. The White House has already issued this statement: “[the] agreement is a positive step and consistent with our strategy of encouraging voluntary efforts to strengthen online intellectual property enforcement and with our broader Internet policy principles, emphasizing privacy, free speech, competition and due process.” Since this is not law, government probably isn’t the most effective way to fight it, nor does the government seem likely to take a stance against this, but it can’t hurt to raise as much hell as possible anyway. Sign it, make some noise.
- Call your ISP and voice your displeasure. If at all possible, switch your ISP to one not supporting CAS, and inform both ISPs that this was why you switched. THIS IS THE MOST EFFECTIVE METHOD.
- Pirate anyway. Don’t be stupid and pirate through the channel they’re obviously watching, but don’t slack in your piracy. Show them that these measures only anger their customers and don’t actually do shit to protect copyright.
- Contact the MPAA and RIAA and so forth and tell them you won’t be buying their products until they cease this war on internet piracy. They can have customers or they can treat everyone like criminals, but they can’t have both.
Hopefully we can all stop running around like chickens without heads claiming the police are coming for our reaction gif folders? Yes? Good. Pirate safely, folks.
Edit: my claim that CAS would impact open wifi was challenged, so I added two sources for that statement as well as some further details. I wish it were not true, but it is.
US Internet providers start spy program to stop file-sharing
February 26, 2013
Starting this week, Internet Service Providers will start throttling connection speeds for customers alleged to be pirating copyright-protected materials.
Months after a controversial “six-strike” program was slated to be rolled out by the biggest ISPs in the United States, the Copyright Alert System (CAS) confirmed on Monday that the initiative has gone live.
The program, critiqued by Internet freedom activists and privacy advocates alike, will let ISPs take six steps of escalating severity in handling incidents where customers are believed to be illegally sharing material. Through the “graduate response”approach, suspected copyright criminals could be issued a series of warnings for illegally downloading protected content.
With the first strike caught by the CAS, a customer could be issued a warning. As strikes increase, however, “mitigation measures,” connection speed throttling and termination of service are all possible options.
“Practically speaking, this means our content partners will begin sending notices of alleged P2P [peer-to-peer] copyright infringement to ISPs, and the ISPs will begin forwarding those notices in the form of Copyright Alerts to consumers,” Jill Lesser of the Center for Copyright Information rights in a blog post on Monday.
“Consumers whose accounts have been used to share copyrighted content over P2P networks illegally (or without authority) will receive Alerts that are meant to educate rather than punish, and direct them to legal alternatives. And for those consumers who believe they received Alerts in error, an easy to use process will be in place for them to seek independent review of the Alerts they received,” she adds — neglecting to mention that the appeals process costs customers $35 a pop.
Previously, Time Warner, Verizon, AT&T, Comcast, Cablevision Systems and other ISPs have signed onto the program, which was last scheduled to start in July 2012. Gigi Sohn, president of digital rights group Public Knowledge, told Wired last year that originally ISPs hoped to roll out the program earlier, but major protests against other restrictive Web policies, including attempts to pass certain legislation, left them to wait until the dust settled.
“SOPA and PIPA definitely had an impact. There was some concern, if they moved ahead too quickly, public opinion would be so raw, this would be caught in the whirlwind of bad PR,” Sohn told Wired.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation notes that the official CSI six-strikes website lets users learn more about the history of copyright, but does so by re-directing them to a page managed by the Copyright Alliance — the same group that advocated heavily for last year’s failed Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA.
When the six-strikes program was first introduced, the White House issued an official statement saying it should “have a significant impact on reducing online piracy.”
I don’t usually do this, but it’s REALLY important. You’ve probably heard about SOPA and PIPA (who didnt, we are on the internet) but there is something coming up that might be as awesomely not awesome: ACTA.
ACTA (understand: Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement) is going to be voted by the European Parliament, but is signed by not less than 39 countries worldwide (Including the US, Korea, Japan, EU, Mexico…), really soon and must be stopped. The people who wrote this “agreement” are NOT people’s representatives.
Internet wise, it would mean you’d be monitored on EVERYTHING YOU DO ONLINE. (the video about the internet aspect of ACTA ). Nothing will be private again. Everything will be monitored, even your facebook/twitter/tumblr/Deviantart/Blog, you won’t have a single piece of privacy on the internet, as your internet provider will watch and track EVERYTHING.
They will be considered “responsible” for everything, so they will take actions themselves, without any other warnings.
THIS IS REALLY IMPORTANT. PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD, SIGN and if you can (especially my fellow EU citizens) contact your European representative!
Take Action: ISPs Selling Out Customers, Pushing Backdoor SOPA
Just weeks after Internet users from across the globe came together to to beat SOPA, the major ISPs are cutting a deal with Big Content to restrict web access for users who are accused of piracy.
It’ll do much of the dirty work we were able to prevent when we took down SOPA, this time by restricting certain Americans’ access to the WHOLE Internet.
The details are fuzzy, but the head of the Recording Industry Association of America’s bragged this week that ISPs will start policing copyright by July of this year.
“Without advanced technology, authoritarian regimes would not be able to spy on their citizens. Reporters Without Borders has for the first time compiled a list of five “Corporate Enemies of the Internet,” five private sector companies that it regards as “digital era mercenaries” because they sell products that are used by authoritarian governments to commit violations of human rights and freedom of information. They are Gamma, Trovicor, Hacking Team, Amesys and Blue Coat... ...Their products have been or are being used to commit violations of human rights and freedom of information. If these companies decided to sell to authoritarian regimes, they must have known that their products could be used to spy on journalists, dissidents and netizens. If their digital surveillance products were sold to an authoritarian regime by an intermediary without their knowledge, their failure to keep track of the exports of their own software means they did not care if their technology was misused and did not care about the vulnerability of those who defend human rights.”—
Reporters Without Borders, Era of the Digital Mercenaries.
Today is World Day Against Cyber-Censorship and for it, Reporters Without Borders is focusing on the five countries and five companies it believes are the worst in the world when it comes to censorship and surveillance.
A must read.