Normative Avoision: Revising the Copyright Alert System to Circumvent Normative Backlash

by Timothy L. Yim   

Content rightsholders in the film and music industries previously spearheaded a legal campaign that, though highly successful in the courts, has resulted in significant normative backlash and overall has been counterproductive to their intended goal of increased copyright enforcement.  In July 2011, when these rightsholders signed an agreement with five major national internet service providers to create the Copyright Alert System (“CAS”), a new and entirely private mechanism for copyright enforcement, they seemed poised to make that same mistake again.  However, in a prime example of “normative avoision,” content rightsholders have finally taken note of the normative consequences of their enforcement methods and, through subsequent changes to CAS, have deftly sidestepped the normative backlash dilemma.

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