As digital piracy poses problems for a widening array of industries, authorities have shown interest in employing graduated response systems to counteract illicit online activity. However, emerging research suggests that this measured approach is currently an insufficient solution to the challenges presented.
Graduated response systems operate under the assumption that first-time offenders should be treated differently than someone who appears to be a consistent, malignant copyright infringer. In the United States, for example, the framework recently implemented by the Center for Copyright Information details responses ranging from educational outreach to temporary bandwidth throttling. Although exact enforcement tactics vary by country, a new international analysis suggest that few - if any - are having the desired effects.
With Australia looking to evolve its infringement deterrence strategy, Monash University professor Rebecca Giblin examined the graduated responses systems currently deployed within seven separate countries across four continents. When judged on criteria including conviction rates and sustained infringement mitigation, the results were not flattering.
"The analysis casts into doubt the case for [graduated response systems'] future international rollout and suggests that existing schemes should be reconsidered," Giblin's executive summary stated.
According to ZDNet, even cases of perceived success were often found to be hollow victories. While New Zealand was able to decrease pirated media trafficking over peer-to-peer networks, for example, many illicit distributors merely transferred their activities to new channels.