Copyright Alert = Better Lawsuits

1:30 PM -- I think it's become pretty clear that when it comes to piracy actions, the content owners and ISPs aren't on the consumer's side.

Actually, I'll make that personal. They aren't on my side. And that just makes propaganda like Thursday's release -- about the copyright alert system -- condescending to the point of being offensive. (See ISPs Can Throttle Back Broadband Bandits.)

The gist of the release is that content owners and Internet service providers are settling on conventions for when to go nuclear on suspected copyright infringers. Your service provider will give you a couple of warnings first -- which I suppose is a step up from the music industry's habit of firing off bazookas first and asking questions later. Certainly, there could be cases when this would come in handy: kids who illegally download stuff and neighbors who leech off someone's Wi-Fi signal.

But come on. When it comes to piracy legislation, there is never any interest in helping consumers, only in finding more efficient ways to sue them. This is a defensive move so the movie industry won't repeat the Recording Industry of America (RIAA) blunder of suing grandmothers and dead people.

It will also let content owners be more aggressive when they do decide to sue someone, because they'll be able to say that the accused -- the ones that aren't so dead, that is -- ignored repeated warnings.

I suppose Thursday's release was no different from any of the oily syntax that comes out of Washington, D.C., but I really resent the idea of someone setting up a better way to sue me and calling it "education." It's just a reminder that even though I don't illegally download content, I'm guilty until proven innocent.

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

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