Five of the U.S.'s largest Internet service providers -- Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cablevision Systems, AT&T and Verizon -- are collaborating with movie, TV and music producers to create a national network that will send up to six warnings to consumers if their broadband accounts have been used to steal digital media starting later this year.
The industry groups and companies behind the move positioned the Copyright Alert System as akin to credit-card fraud alerts, and spun the effort as a way to educate Internet subscribers who may be unwittingly abetting online content theft.
The National Cable & Telecommunications Association worked in an advisory capacity with the ISPs to help complete the agreement.
"Consumers have a right to know if their broadband account is being used for illegal online content theft, or if their own online activity infringes on copyright rules -- inadvertently or otherwise -- so that they can correct that activity," NCTA executive vice president James Assey said in a statement. "We are confident that, once informed that content theft is taking place on their accounts, the great majority of broadband subscribers will take steps to stop it."
Companies and associations behind the piracy-alert framework include: the Motion Picture Association of America and members Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox, Universal City Studios and Warner Bros. Entertainment; and the Recording Industry Association of America and members Universal Music Group Recordings, Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group and EMI Music North America.