Internet Providers Will Penalize Users For Illegal Music Downloads
'Six Strikes' Campaign Emphasizes Education, Not Net Banishment
July 8, 2011 at 10:39 AM (PT)
AT&T, VERIZON, COMCAST, CABLEVISION and TIME WARNER CABLE have voluntarily agreed to initiate what is being called a "six strikes" campaign, reports ARS TECHNICA -- yet even a sixth strike may not ban the user from using the ISP.
The "copyright alerts" are "a series of messages warning users that their (alleged) activity has been detected and that penalties could result if it continues. The first four warnings likely won't result in any penalties, but the ISPs will institute "mitigation measures," beginning with the fifth or six alert. Those measures 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."
ISPs are not required to disconnect a user's Internet connection at any point, but they are free to disconnect users if they wish -- something they've always had the power to do. The stated goal, however, is to provide enough "education" so that any punishment would be unnecessary.
"The I.S.P.’s want to cooperate with HOLLYWOOD because the carriers recognize that their own growth depends in part on bundled content strategies," BIGCHAMPAGNE CEO ERIC GARLAND told THE NEW YORK TIMES. "They don’t want to be just utilities providing Internet access, but premium content distributors as well."
It's a decision the music industry has wanted for some time. "In bringing together the media companies and Internet carriers, the deal demonstrates how the once-clear line separating those two businesses has been blurred. Eight years ago, the RECORDING INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA had to sue VERIZON to try to uncover the identity of a customer who was sharing music online. This year, COMCAST completed its merger with NBC, bringing an owner of digital content and a conduit for it under the same roof," wrote THE TIMES.