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New copyright flag system puts burden of proof on you, not your accuser

Photo: The US ReportStakeholders and supporters of a new warning system, the Copyright Alert System, claim their goal is to educate consumers about intellectual property rights.

Web users will receive warnings as a result of a complaint from a copyright holder, and if you ignore those warnings, you could see your connection slow down, among other things. That’s because your Internet provider is in on the game; President Barack Obama also supports it.

The burden of proof is on you, not your accuser.

Wire services and other media say that if you believe you’ve been wrongly accused, you’d have to fork out $35 to appeal. You get your money back (eventually) if you’re not guilty.

It’s likely this system will only slow down your average Joe; tech-savvy file sharers will find a way to get around it.

It’s probably a good idea to check credits for any TV shows, films or music you download and make sure the site providing the download technically has rights to distribute the content.

It’s also likely the system will mainly penalize users in the U.S.—certain regimes around the globe could care less about intellectual property rights.

It’s likely there will be gray areas—bloggers routinely share TV clips, for instance, for commentary—and how those will be resolved is anyone’s guess. What is for sure is that any resolution won’t be you-friendly—the Hollywood one-percenters will rule.

Tinseltown types like George Clooney and Harvey Weinstein only want to redistribute your money; they like to hang on to theirs.

(Commentary by Kay B. Day/Feb. 26, 2013)

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