The New ‘Copyright Alert System’ Takes Aim at the Wrong People

fbi_seal_large_verge_medium_landscapeWith the new Copyright Alert System, the MPAA and RIAA are dropping the hammer… On the wrong people…

Internet Service Providers, the MPAA/RIAA, and the Federal government have all teamed up and decided that they are going to fix the problem of internet piracy and copyright infringement. They’ve worked for years, struggling to come up with a comprehensive solution to such a horrible and thoughtless crime epidemic. Piracy is corroding the soul of America, let’s face it. Multinational Corporate-Run Motion Picture Studios work extremely hard to distribute a product that they can make a profit from, and despite the fact that the box office just had its best year in a decade, the scourge of internet piracy has to be stopped.

WarOnDrugsInfographicLike the equally important and equally effective War on Drugs and War on Terror, the War on Piracy has become one of the most important wars of our age… Symbolizing not only the great struggle for the morality of this nation, but for the very souls of our children as well. For what are we if we teach our kids that theft is acceptable? What are we saying about our society if we don’t let our most important corporate citizens set an example for what is and what isn’t appropriate economic responsibility? And now, after years of work, countless man-hours of thoughtful analysis, finally the policy makers AND the government have given the Corporate-Run Motion Picture Studios have a weapon they can finally use to target offenders… Education.

Internet-PiracyAlso called the Six-Strikes Program (just rolls off the tongue doesn’t it?), the Copyright Alert System was finally rolled out this last week, and citizens can sleep a little easier at night knowing that the intellectual property of their beloved Multinational Corporate-Run Motion Picture Studios is safe at last. The copyright owners have tried for a decade now to stem the tide of illegal file-sharing, and since going after the source of pirated movies and music (the downloadees) hasn’t worked, it’s only logical that the next step is to go after the downloaders.

And the best news? It’s not TOO unconstitutional!

anonymous-maskBut seriously, with the new system, if a major motion picture studio invades your privacy and detects that you have illegally downloaded copyrighted material, they now have the ability to let your internet service provider know that this breach (that is the breach that YOU have made) has occurred. The ISPs can then send you a pop-up or alert with educational tips about the importance of copyright law and possible consequences for future theft can be. How about that? A private coalition of corporations can watch your activity and report it to other corporations so that those other corporations can take away some of your freedom! This is truly a step forward in privatizing our liberty.

Let’s say you want to know if the new Green Day album is worth buying or not (Cause let’s face it, at this point in their career, and in this economy, you can’t afford to go spend money on an album that is going to suck and you’re never going to listen to), so you go to your local peer-to-peer network and find an illegally distributed copy of their new album for free. Now you download that file and listen to it. Sure enough, your hunch was right, the new Green Day is worse than whatever a Bruno Mars is. So you don’t buy the album. Now little do you know the Recording Industry Association of America is the one who put that copy on that peer-to-peer network… As bait… That’s strike one. The RIAA has been watching the network, and now they’re watching you. You might not have been on the list, but now you are.

pirate-bayHowever the more likely situation is this: You’re a good consumer. You work, pay taxes, go to the movies, buy iTunes songs AND albums of bands you love, you buy video games, BluRays, Netflix, Amazon streaming, etc… You’re the prime example of the modern media consumer. However you’re hiding a dark and terrible secret, you’re also a downloader... As a movie fan, you love films, but you’re also not rich, so you can’t afford to pay for every single movie you want to see. You don’t go to the movies with video cameras, you don’t upload your screener copies of awards considerations, you don’t even upload CDs you buy for others to get… You’re simply A CONSUMER… Just like the MPAA/RIAA wants you to be. You grew up with your parents teaching you how to hook two VCRs together to record a crappy copy of Tron for pity’s sake.

torrentWould you be surprised to hear that this new Copyright Alert System might just violate a few federal laws? Like primarily that one that says a person is innocent until proven guilty? Or that a person has a right to due process? Or that these coalitions of corporations and internet service providers completely blocked all subscriber/consumer representation from the drafting of their “system?” Or that this whole process runs without any kind of oversight whatsoever?

Or that the Constitution of the United States of America gives CONGRESS sole right to enforce copyright laws and that only our federal courts have the right to punish violators?

Guess that makes this whole Copyright Alert System work-around as shady as it sounds. Watch your back, and call your congressman. Seriously. Here’s the link to find out who is your representative in congress and tell them how you feel about this draconian, privatized law-enforcement system.


Ok, so what can I say? It’s been almost 10 years since I placed hands on my first Apple product… An iPod… An old gray one with the wheel and a grayscale screen… Remember the wheel? Ahh… I can… it was my friend’s iPod, they let be borrow it and I immediately took to it. The iPod was to be the end of my CD Walkman days, and man I had carried that thing everywhere. I had just gone back to school and the iPod changed my life. Not only did I have dozens, hell even a hundred albums, on a pocket-sized piece of hardware… But with it came iTunes– simply put, a revolution in music.

I don’t remember how long it took me to burn my ENTIRE music collection into the computer, but gone were the days of rooting through cases and carrying tons of CDs around. Now it was possible to carry TOO many albums… It wasn’t because I didn’t have to stand in front shelves of albums trying to find that one I wanted to listen to, nor was it the fact that I could have hands-free access to my tunes- it was the fact that I could have almost all of the music I needed in one spot. The age of the Playlist was here, and no longer were we constrained by the shackles of an LP, no now we could make mix-tapes with a click and a drag.

WAIT! Don’t get me wrong. I believe in the concept of “the album.” As a musician myself I know that the implementation of iTunes has only fed the fast-food music we have today, a hollow shell of the once great “industry” that had so much control… all brought down by Napster and Apple. I still buy CDs. If one of my favorite bands puts out something new, I want to hear it like it’s supposed to be heard, start-to-finish, clear-as-a-bell. Take for instance the new Foo Fighters album Wasting Light. is currently hosting the entire album for preview before it comes out tomorrow (Tuesday 4/12). The Foo Fighters also just put out a feature documentary in theaters, online, and on Paladia (it’s brilliant, watched it Friday night). This multi-media promotional technique is par for the course with today’s bands. It all also coincides with the 17-year anniversary of Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain’s death (the immortal band the Foos’ Dave Grohl played drums in). The marketing strategy has worked, no ripped copies have leaked on the internet (except for the webrip from the stream) and I personally plan on picking up the CD tomorrow. It will be the first CD I’ve bought since September of 2010 when Alice in Chains’ new album dropped.

But of course I will rip it into iTunes so I can have it on my iPhone! I listen to music on all kinds of devices these days. Whether it’s from the iPhone speaker/armband I designed and built myself (great for bike rides and having on while working, it’s music with no earbuds), or plugging it into one of the seven i-ready stereos we have (two in cars and five in the house!), music from the internal iPod App or from Pandora is ALWAYS playing. Have I mentioned I love music? My parents were huge music buffs and I’ve probably been to 50 more concerts than the average person due to my dad dragging me to Grateful Dead shows, Neil Young concerts, and Bluegrass Festivals all before I was even 15 (also explains the partial deafness- but I don’t hold a grudge).

When I got my first 5G iPod Video in 2006 I thought I was going to die. 30 gigs of music and video, I didn’t know it was possible to fill it up… until I got all 6 seasons of Family Guy (there were only 6 then). I’ve always loved movies as much if not more than music, and a portable video player that I could pre-program with my favorite movies or shows to watch on the go?! I was in heaven! Little did I know… That 5G was my last Apple product for a long, long time.

I watched the fury of the iPhone and the iTouch come and go, 3G, 3GS, etc… I was busy with other obsessions at the time (Playstation 3 had just came out). Apple’s marketing campaign got so obnoxious that I started in with the haters even before the iPhone came out. I didn’t see what the big deal was at the time. I just saw it as a fancy and expensive waste of time. Boy was I ever right. My honey came back from a business trip with an iTouch 4G two summers ago, right after it had come out. It was my first experience with the new touch screens, it humbled me, it made me eat every word I’d spoken out of envy, I immediately turned around and got a refurbished iPhone 3G, the second model.

I loved my 3G. It was slow as molasses and dropped almost every call, but it was a touchscreen, it surfed the web, and allowed me to carry any movie (or music) I wanted and on a big screen! When the iPhone 4 dropped I drooled, I saw people with them everywhere… I wanted one so bad I could taste it (tasted like strawberry strangely enough). I jailbroke my old 3G and explored the world of 3rd party apps, but it was too slow in the end… and when iPhone 3GS’s went on sale for $49 this last Christmas I knew my time had come. Sure enough I managed to squirrel away 49 bucks and bought myself a 3GS for my 34th birthday. It is lightning fast, I can only imagine how fast the iPhone 4 is. I can watch Netflix on the fly, listen to Pandora Internet Radio, update my Twitter and Facebook, post blogs, write music, schedule appointments, anything! (Well, not anything… but I love this phone).

So almost a decade, 250 million iPods, 100 million iPhones, and a $65 billion dollar net worth later, Apple is doing ok for itself. What was once a dying computer company has revolutionized the way people buy, organize, and listen to music and movies. Not bad, not bad at all.