America's copyright threat letters turn one year old, but no one will say how they're doing

The Copyright Alert System — a "voluntary" system of disconnection threats sent to alleged file-sharers, created by entertainment companies and the large US ISPs — has just celebrated its first birthday, having spent $2 million in order to send out 625,000 threats to people it believed to be infringers. How's that working out for them?

No one knows. The Center for Copyright Information — which made a lot of noise about its war on piracy when it was ramping up — has been totally silent for the past twelve months, not issuing a single press release (nor have its participating entities said anything about it in that time).

I guess there are two possibilities: one is that this was an amazing success, but they're too modest to boast.

The other one is that, like every other variant on this, as practiced in New Zealand, the UK, and France, it is an expensive boondoggle that wasted millions, alienated hundreds of thousands, and did nothing to break the copyright logjam that has been sowing chaos on the Internet since the 1990s.

This program was the brainchild of US copyright czar Victoria Espinel and the entertainment bigs, and was a predictable disaster from the outset. No doubt there will be some grossly flawed study in the near future to demonstrate that they've finally managed to invent perpetual motion square the circle make Pi equal 3.1 threaten Internet users into doing their bidding.

The only time CCI hit the mainstream news is when it lost its company status temporarily, and when it was criticized for its efforts to teach copyright classes at kindergartens. None of these issues were directly related to the Copyright Alert program.

The big question that has to be answered somewhere in the future is how effective the six-strikes scheme is. The ultimate goal of the program is to reduce online piracy, but thus far there has been no clear indication that this is happening.

On the contrary, recent research shows that these type of anti-piracy efforts are rather unsuccessful. This is confirmed by data provided by The Pirate Bay, whose growth in U.S. traffic continued after the system went into effect.

Similarly, there have been no reports indicating an increase in movie or music industry revenues that can be linked to the introduction of the Copyright Alert System.

Six Strikes Anti-Piracy Scheme Turns One Year, But Does It Work?