The Copyright Alert System launches today in the U.S. If you are illegally sharing music, movies, or any other copyrighted media, you can expect a little slap on the wrist in the form of a notice. If you continue to cross the omnipresent system, penalties will increase to an extreme level of annoyance. Via Billboard Biz:

The system allows content owners to send infringement notices to subscribers via the ISP but the way each ISP deals with infringement will vary, according to details previously shared by the CCI. Infringers will first receive educational alerts and will be followed by alerts that require the infringer to acknowledge receipt of the notices. Continued infringement may result in what Lesser called “mitigation measures” such as mandatory review of educational measures and temporarily slowed Internet service.

Though it may sound pretty harsh, it’s nowhere near as drastic as systems used by other countries.

The Copyright Alert System is not like other anti-piracy programs in other countries. Because it is not a “three strikes” program, infringers will not face termination of their Internet service. And because it is a market-led solution, there are no criminal penalties or fines for the most serious offenders.

So, maybe you’ve already been persecuted and suffered the worst – a slowed internet connection for days – what happens next? Via The Daily Dot:

Then, well, you’ve “graduated” from the system. No more alerts. Congrats! The CAS won’t hamper you any more. Except the content companies might now try to sue you as a serial pirate. And the fact that you’ve been cited six times already for copyright infringement will likely be used in court against you.

This point is still up for consideration. Technically, companies that want to protect their copyrights aren’t prohibited from suing you just because you haven’t been flagged six times yet. However, several experts consulted by the Daily Dot deemed that kind of lawsuit unlikely. Also undetermined but unlikely: whether the fact that someone’s been flagged multiple times by the CAS can be used as evidence in court that they’re repeat infringers.

For a thorough explanation, check out this helpful little video!

You’ve been warned.

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