A national Copyright Alert System had a planned debut for Nov. 28 but it was postponed due to delays related to Superstorm Sandy, officials say. The Center for Copyright Information, with members including the Motion Picture Association of America and major Internet service providers AT&T, Cablevision, Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Verizon,  seeks to deter copyright infringement in the U.S. by educating the public. The center now says participating net providers won’t activate the alert system until next year.

Under center policy, aimed at combatting online piracy and specifically BitTorrent pirates, content owners must notify a participating net service provider when there appears to be infringement by a specific computer; the ISP in turn identifies the subscriber account using the IP address.

Copyright holders and service providers, of course, don’t always see eye to eye on infringement, as evidenced by ISPs withholding personal information of alleged BitTorrent pirates. Torrentfreak.com reports that, in many cases, the person who pays for an account is not who shares copyrighted material; the subscriber, though, is who gets sued for infringement. Verizon objects to subpoenas granted by courts for information about subscribers based upon breach of privacy rights of its customers. ISPs may even profit from peer-to-peer traffic reports  Gigaom.com.

As part of a “six strikes” anti-piracy program, the center calls for increasingly severe alerts sent by the service provider to persistent online pirates. In the progressive strikes against prospective piracy, providers may throttle or temporarily cut off services; they also provide copyright re-education. The policy was announced in July, 2011, and nay-sayers have expressed skepticism that the Superstorm’s to blame for delays in launching this system.

Torrentfreak reports there’s a problem getting the providers and American Arbitration Association ready to move at once.  Even if the plan debuts next year, doubts remain as to how effective it will be against piracy, considering that infringing subscribers need not fear about losing their peer-to-peer access. As the system stands now, participating providers won’t be canceling accounts of repeat infringers, even as the sixth step.