After a lengthy build-up, the US gets its first taste of graduated response anti-piracy schemes this week, with the launch of the Copyright Alert System (CAS).

The overseeing Center for Copyright Information has relaunched its website with more information on the scheme, which targets P2P piracy, and confirmed that ISPs will start work on it this week.

“Practically speaking, this means our content partners will begin sending notices of alleged P2P copyright infringement to ISPs, and the ISPs will begin forwarding those notices in the form of Copyright Alerts to consumers,” explains the Center’s boss Jill Lesser, who stresses that most consumers will never receive an alert.

“Consumers whose accounts have been used to share copyrighted content over P2P networks illegally (or without authority) will receive Alerts that are meant to educate rather than punish, and direct them to legal alternatives. And for those consumers who believe they received Alerts in error, an easy to use process will be in place for them to seek independent review of the Alerts they received.”

In countries like South Korea and Sweden, the introduction of anti-piracy legislation was seen as an important stick to complement the carrot of more legal digital music services. Rightsholders hope the US follows suit, with five of the biggest American ISPs signed up for launch.

The US launch should also cause a few red faces in the UK, where nearly three years after the Digital Economy Act was passed, its plans for a system of copyright notifications has yet to kick off.