By Ruth Vitale

LOS ANGELES – If responsible companies work together, they can find common ground, develop solutions to complex problems, and promote a healthy digital economy. That’s the big takeaway from a report released today by the Center for Copyright Information (CCI) on the progress made to date implementing the Copyright Alert System.

The Copyright Alert System is a voluntary initiative designed to educate consumers about the misuse of their Internet accounts to access illegal copies of music, films, and television shows – and about the growing list of legal sources of digital content.

The CAS was created with input from content owners, rights holders, Internet service providers (ISPs), and consumer advocacy groups. That’s no small feat – considering it brought together companies within the same sector that compete with one another on a daily basis, companies from different economic sectors with divergent interests, as well as consumer groups who often do not see eye-to-eye with industry.

The CAS demonstrates that companies and organizations with competing interests can achieve a common goal – and it can be done with consumer privacy protections built in from the start.

According to the report, the CAS has sent more than 1.3 million Copyright Alerts to date. However, it is important to note that the program is new and this only represents a small sample of total instances of piracy.

The report found that “the vast majority of the Copyright Alerts delivered to account holders – more than 70% – occurred at the initial educational stages, with less than 3% of the Alerts sent occurring at the final mitigation stage.” This suggests that many account holders are deterred after receiving the first Alert. The report also notes that further analysis is needed.

An independent review process, managed by the American Arbitration Association, was created to give account holders the ability to challenge Alerts they believe were sent in error. Of only 265 requests for review out of 1.3 million alerts in 2013, “there was not one single case in which an invalid notice – or false positive – was identified,” the report says.

The CAS is a model for future voluntary agreements. CreativeFuture supports similar voluntary initiatives with advertising and credit card companies that can help take the profit out of piracy.

All legitimate businesses should have a keen interest in a legal online marketplace for creative content. By continuing to work together, we can promote a vibrant creative economy that continues to build and improve digital distribution models that reward creators, while expanding audience access to content where, when, and how they
want it.