Comcast customers will now get notifications from the local Internet provider if they illegally access copyrighted content online.
"This is part of an industry-wide effort; it's in an attempt to let customers know that there is info that is copyright-protected, and by various actions they may have taken, they may have infringed on that copyright," Jim Weigert, local vice president and general manager of Comcast, said Wednesday.
Locally, Comcast started sending these alerts in December, and they are one of several other content owners and Internet service providers—including Verizon, Time Warner Cable, Cablevision and AT&T—who are joining in the effort.
The Center for Copyright Information, whose members include the Motion Picture Association of America, the Recording Industry Association of America and independent producers, is heading up the effort.
Comcast leaders said they expect the majority of users will never get an alert, and termination of Internet service isn't part of the alert system.
Leaders also assured customers in a blog post that privacy is important and that content owners will not have access to customers' personal information.
The alert system takes a six-step approach to notifying customers about allegations of copyright infringement that happens through their Internet service.
The alerts are progressive and will start out as informational and evolve into "mitigation alerts" that require customers to call a Comcast representative to review educational information about copyrights and acknowledge that they understand that information.
Local customers who use EPB for Internet access won't get these sorts of notifications, spokesman John Pless said.
When EPB gets a compliant about alleged piracy, leaders forward it to the client or company that has allegedly been the victim, he said.
"That way, they can resolve the issue," he said.
Weigert said that many people don't realize they are accessing copyrighted information, so the alerts are meant to notify and educate.
"The industry agreed to assist in protection of online content against piracy," he said. "We want to increase awareness."