Take note, United States-based internet torrent lovers & pirates; the brand new Copyright Alert System (CAS) is taking effect this week, and it’s designed to make life as inconvenient as possible for the casual file-sharer.
Fortunately for you, and despite the fact that this measure has the support and cooperation of the five major internet service providers (Time Warner, Verizon, AT&T, Comcast, and Cablevision), there are a multitude of ways to get around this crackdown.
What Is the New Copyright Alert System and How Does it Work?
The system is fairly simple: content providers (like the RIAA and the MPAA) keep watch over peer-to-peer file-sharing sites and, once they notice an illegal file being shared, they round up the IP addresses of all involved and report them to their internet service provider.
And the consequences of getting caught? Up to six alerts of varying degrees of severity, some of which is dependent on who your provider is. The first couple of times you get caught, you get a fairly tame, almost congenial notice saying that some illegal activity has been detected from your IP address and reminding you that legal options are indeed available.
Alerts three through six are more serious, and this is where we get a wider variety of responses from the ISPs. According to Gawker, “after two warnings, Verizon will redirect you to a website where you’ll have to acknowledge receiving the alerts and watch a brief video about copyright infringement. After four warnings, Time Warner Cable will lock down your browser until you call a number and agree to stop downloading files illegally.”
Warnings five and six are as serious as it gets, with punishments as severe as having your internet slowed down to slightly-better-than-dial-up speeds, or being forced to complete an online copyright tutorial. Amazingly, once you’ve made it over this hump, the alerts stop. But before you get all emboldened, having survived your spirit-crushingly slow internet or completed your mind-numbing tutorial, remember that the old methods (legal action) still exist.
Of course, some have pointed out that this system, reliant as it is on IP addresses, is inherently flawed and benefits corporate interests at the expense of the average internet denizen. Certain open Wi-Fi set-ups will be vulnerable to the whims of whoever happens to be using the service. Giants like Starbucks can afford to make special agreements with their ISP to keep their open Wi-Fi legitimate, but if you and your neighbors are sharing a service, you’re all dependent on each other to avoid getting flagged. An IP address only really lets you know whose name is on the bill.
Lastly, and maybe most amusingly, the Copyright Alert System really only targets uploaders on peer-to-peer torrenting services. You can download and download and download to your heart’s content, and as long as you don’t upload any copyrighted files, you wouldn’t receive a single alert under this new system.
So How Can FlashRouters Help Me Get Around the Copyright Alert System?
Articles about how to avoid getting ensnared by this new system are coming pretty fast and often (it would seem the new Copyright Alert System is comically easy to get around), but we’re going to go ahead and add our two cents anyway, because we think our way is the smartest route to take.
Since this whole alerting system is based around IP addresses, all you’d really have to do is obscure or even change your IP address to circumvent it. Doing that is as simple as subscribing to a using a VPN or subscribing to a VPN service provider.
A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, is a subscription-based service that provides a hugely beneficial level of security to your network and internet presence. VPN’s exist to keep your information safe by rerouting network traffic through a server in whatever country you choose. You can change your IP address to one in another country or a different part of the country you’re in.
Using a VPN, you can encrypt your data flow, and even access regionally restricted websites (such as Netflix UK, which you could access from the US, or Netflix US, which you access from Mexico, etc.). Some of the more popular VPN services include Overplay VPN, HideMyAss VPN, StrongVPN, IPVanish VPN, and PrivateInternetAccess VPN. Check out our new VPN provider comparison list for more options.
FlashRouters’ upgrades popular Linksys, Asus & Netgear router models with DD-WRT or Tomato firmware. These firmware upgrades integrate built-in VPN-client connection options to any of these VPN services, thus saving you the trouble of attempting to make your router VPN compatible and adding an additional later of privacy and security.
Furthermore, using a router flashed with open source DD-WRT or Tomato firmware will also allow you to tunnel your whole network through your VPN connection to avoid the ISPs targeting and prying eyes.
And there are plenty of other benefits to having a router flashed with DD-WRT or Tomato firmware, such as increased antenna signal strength, access restrictions, bandwidth monitoring and the ability to create Wi-Fi hotspots in your home or for your business. Read more about the benefits of DD-WRT firmware here.