Content Producers Vow To Confront Web Users Who Steal Copyrighted Works

People who illegally download copyrighted movies, TV shows, and music will soon receive a series emailed warnings — and may temporarily see Internet speeds reduced or have their Web surfing blocked — a coalition of content producers and distributors announced this morning. The measures come from a new organization called the Center for Copyright Information that’s backed by trade groups including the MPAA, RIAA, and IFTA, as well as major broadband providers such as Comcast and Verizon. The coalition says it wants to develop a set of common best practices to treat illegal downloads much the same way financial institutions deal with credit card fraud. The participants say that they are working within existing laws and won’t terminate Internet subscriber accounts or provide user names to copyright holders. They just want to be sure that people know when they’re violating someone’s copyright. “Data suggest that, once informed about the alleged content theft and its possible consequences, most Internet subscribers will quickly take steps to ensure that the theft doesn’t happen again,” the group says in a release. The Center says that content theft accounts for $16 billion in lost earnings each year as well as $3 billion in lost federal state and local tax revenue.

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