Today is the first day that the six strikes program is set to begin in the United States. Five of the major ISP’s in the US have agreed to warn customers who are accused of using P2P technology to share copyright protected material. Those companies are Comcast, Verizon, AT&T, Cablevision and Time Warner Cable. The cooperating companies have launched a new site, called Center for Copyright Information which is intended to explain the copyright alert system to those who receive notices from their ISP.
The system itself is designed only to warn and educate customers, and there is no provision for permanent denial of service. The first few notices from the ISP’s are simply warnings. After that, the actions taken by the individual companies differ slightly. ATT plans to deny access to some of the most popular areas on the net until the customer accused of copyright infringement completes a short course on copyright. Verizon plans to slow down the speed of those who are accused of infringement, and Time Warner will “temporarily interrupt” browsing. No word is available from Cablevision or Comcast, but they are expected to impose similar measures for infractions.
Curiously, there is no mention of what happens after six offenses, though in leaked documents AT&T has stated that: After the fifth alert, the content owner may pursue legal action against the customer, and may seek a court order requiring AT&T to turn over personal information to assist the litigation,”
After their experience in suing just a handful of people for music downloads in the US, I’m not sure that the RIAA has the stomach or finances necessary to sue tens of thousands of people using just IP addresses as evidence. Especially since recent judgements in the US have explicitly stated that an IP address isn’t sufficient evidence to link to any particular individual. And the MPAA has, so far, never tried to step into this legal quagmire.
For those who receive warnings, my advice is to look into a cheap VPN; one that does not keep logs. Even for those who are falsely accused, the game is rigged and costs money to even argue your case.
You can read more on the story at TorrentFreak.