Copyright Alert System

Definition of Copyright Alert System

The Copyright Alert System (CAS) was a program initiated in the United States to combat online copyright infringement, particularly through peer-to-peer file sharing. Launched in 2013, the system involved cooperation between major Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and copyright holders to identify, educate, and potentially penalize users sharing copyrighted content. The CAS ceased operations in 2017 due to its limited effectiveness and inability to adapt to changing methods of content sharing.


The phonetic representation of “Copyright Alert System” using the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) would be: /ˈkɒpriˌraɪt əˈlɜrt ˈsɪstəm/

Key Takeaways

  1. The Copyright Alert System (CAS) is an automated notification system designed to detect, inform, and ultimately deter consumers from accessing or sharing copyrighted material on the internet, primarily through the use of peer-to-peer networks.
  2. CAS relies on a collaboration among Internet Service Providers (ISPs), copyright holders, and the Center for Copyright Information (CCI) to monitor and send graduated alerts to users suspected of copyright infringement. This is typically done in a series of six alerts, ranging from educational messages to, in extreme cases, temporary suspension of internet services.
  3. Ultimately, the goal of the Copyright Alert System is to promote a legal and sustainable digital environment, encouraging consumers to support creators by using authorized sources of copyrighted content while simultaneously maintaining the privacy of users and avoiding legal repercussions or penalties.

Importance of Copyright Alert System

The Copyright Alert System (CAS) is important because it serves as a crucial tool to combat online copyright infringement, protecting the rights of content creators and owners.

This system operates as a collaboration between internet service providers (ISPs) and copyright holders, allowing for the identification, monitoring, and notification of users engaged in illegal file sharing or unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material.

By empowering copyright owners and ISPs with a mechanism to address internet piracy, the CAS fosters a fairer digital landscape, encourages the legal consumption of content, and ultimately supports the continued innovation and growth across various creative industries, benefiting both content creators and consumers.


The Copyright Alert System (CAS) was established with the primary purpose of educating and informing internet users about the legal and ethical implications of online copyright infringement, specifically in relation to sharing copyrighted material via peer-to-peer networks. This system was a partnership between content creators, internet service providers (ISPs), and other stakeholders aimed at deterring the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted content, such as music, movies, and television shows.

Through the CAS, individuals engaged in copyright infringement would receive alerts, prompting them to cease their potentially illegal activities and directing them towards legal alternatives for accessing and consuming digital content. One of the key aspects of the Copyright Alert System was its educational and informative approach.

As opposed to immediately resorting to punitive measures, CAS would issue a series of escalating alerts to users involved in copyright infringement activity in an effort to instill awareness about the consequences of piracy and guide users towards respecting intellectual property rights. These alerts, designed as a tiered system, would usually start with a simple notification, then progress to requiring users to acknowledge receipt of the notices, and ultimately, in case of persistent infringement, the ISPs could opt to take temporary measures, such as reducing the users’ internet speed.

Overall, the Copyright Alert System was a tool that aimed to promote a healthy online ecosystem that values and respects creators’ rights, while opening up a path for users to legal content consumption options.

Examples of Copyright Alert System

Verizon Communications, Inc. – Verizon, a global leader in delivering broadband and other wireless communication innovations, participated in the Copyright Alert System (CAS) to help ensure that its customers enjoy a seamless browsing experience while preventing the illegal downloading of copyrighted material. Verizon would send warning notices to the users if any unauthorized content was downloaded using their accounts. After five warnings, Verizon would temporarily downgrade the internet speed as an additional deterrent against piracy.

Comcast Corporation – When the Copyright Alert System was active, Comcast, one of the largest internet service providers in the United States, participated in combatting the piracy of copyrighted materials. If Comcast detected that its users were sharing copyrighted content, they would send alert messages to educate the user about the infringement and direct them towards legal alternatives. After receiving multiple notices, they could block access to popular websites until the user contacted the company to discuss the issue, ensuring that the users were aware of the severity of their infringement.

Time Warner Cable (now Spectrum) – Time Warner Cable (TWC), another large internet service provider in the United States, was also a part of the Copyright Alert System during its operation. As a part of this program, TWC would send alerts to its users about illegal downloads or sharing of copyrighted materials. These alerts provided educational material and legal alternatives for downloading the content. Moreover, after receiving five or six notices, TWC implemented a range of measures such as temporary suspension of the user’s internet service in order to enforce the seriousness of the violation and deter future piracy activity.

Copyright Alert System FAQ

What is the Copyright Alert System (CAS)?

The Copyright Alert System is a program developed by the Center for Copyright Information that aims to educate internet users about digital copyright laws and deter illegal distribution of copyrighted content. It involves cooperation between copyright holders, Internet Service Providers (ISPs), and content providers to address the issue of online piracy.

How does the Copyright Alert System work?

When a copyright holder identifies copyrighted material being shared illegally online, they can notify the corresponding ISP, who will then send an alert to the customer associated with the IP address. This system includes a series of escalating alerts, with each subsequent alert becoming more severe. Typically, users will receive educational information in the initial alerts, followed by warnings and potential penalties if infringement continues.

What are the consequences of receiving multiple alerts?

If a user continues to receive alerts and ignore warnings, the ISP may impose penalties or take other actions depending on the individual service provider’s policies. These can range from temporary speed throttling to possible suspension of service. However, termination of the user’s internet service is not part of the CAS program.

How can I avoid receiving alerts from the Copyright Alert System?

To avoid receiving alerts, make sure to only download and share content from legitimate sources. Do not participate in file sharing of copyrighted material without proper authorization, and educate yourself about copyright laws to ensure that you are not infringing on any rights.

What should I do if I believe I have received an alert in error?

If you believe you have received a copyright alert in error, contact your ISP and provide any relevant information to support your claim. In many cases, you will have the opportunity to request an independent review to evaluate the validity of the alert.

Related Technology Terms

  • Intellectual Property Rights
  • Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)
  • Internet Service Providers (ISPs)
  • Content ID
  • Infringement Notices

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