Bye Bye torrents; ISPs Are About to Crack Down on illegal File-Sharing
Love to download and share music and movies? Well, don’t be surprised if you get a ‘love’ letter (actually, email) from your provider on or after November 28.
This will be the implementation of an earlier agreement signed in July 2011 between the a coalition of U.S. Internet providers — including AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, Cablevision and Time Warner Cable — in order to crack down on online copyright infringers.
The terms of the agreement supposedly emphasize user education over user punishment. Instead of cutting offending users off from Internet services, the providers cooked up a “six strikes” approach to infringement notification: copyright holders would do their standard scanning for infringement. They would then cross-reference suspect IP addresses against the ISPs that control them. The copyright holders would then send a warning message to infringers — and, under the agreement, the ISPs would in turn forward those messages to their customers.
For up to six of those messages.
The agreement’s goal, Ars Technica noted at the time, was to “educate and stop the alleged content theft in question, not to punish. No ISP wants to lose a customer or see a customer face legal trouble based on a misunderstanding, so the alert system provides every opportunity to set the record straight.”
Allegeldy, TorrentFreak obtained internal documents from AT&T specifying a Nov. 28 launch date for the alert program. Those documents also suggested that the cooperation between service providers and copyright holders could facilitate legal action against infringers.
The ISPs will send "copyright alerts," a series of messages warning users that their (alleged) activity has been detected and that penalties could result if it continues. These notes continue repeatedly—two, three, even four warnings likely won't result in any penalties—but the scheme certainly does have a punitive component.
ISPs have agreed to institute "mitigation measures" (or, as you and I know them, punishments) which will begin with the fifth or six alert, and they may include "temporary reductions of Internet speeds, redirection to a landing page until the subscriber contacts the ISP to discuss the matter or reviews and responds to some educational information about copyright, or other measures that the ISP may deem necessary to help resolve the matter."
There is no requirement that ISPs disconnect a user's Internet connection at any point, and indeed ISPs say they will refuse any measure that might cut off a user's phone service, e-mail access, "or any security or health service (such as home security or medical monitoring)." But ISPs are free to disconnect users if they wish (as indeed they have always been).
Even though these measures will put a dent in your P2P activity it still a far cry from SOPA which would not only curb it but kick you and your PC to the curb (if they don’t put you in jail). Even though the goal of this action is to provide enough "education" so that any possible punishment is deferred, there's no avoiding the fact that the "mitigation measures" are the result of private, unverified accusations not evaluated by a judiciary. This may be problematic for those who take the Internet access to heart – as a human right proscribed by the UN. Personally, I think that any measures by ISPs should only come after judicial scrutiny, but hey, how much power do we really have in this matter?
In the end, copyright owners hope that most subscribers will be scared into heeding the first few warnings which effectively curbing further ‘illegal’ activities.
What do you think about this measure and do you believe that P2P is really hurting the music and film industry?US internet 'six strikes' anti-piracy campaign begins