ISPs Gear Up To Combat File-Sharing With 'Six Strikes' Plans

Internet service providers will roll out their "six strikes" program for piracy over the next two months, the umbrella group Center for Copyright Information said today.

The six strikes program, announced last year, calls for AT&T, Cablevision, Comcast, Time Warner, Verizon and other ISPs to send a series of warnings to users who allegedly share copyrighted files via peer-to-peer networks. If users persist, ISPs will institute "mitigation measures."

Those measures will vary from ISP to ISP, and could include throttling users. Most ISPs haven't yet revealed specifics, but AT&T intends to redirect some repeat offenders to an educational site where they will take an online tutorial about copyright, according to a memo obtained by TorrentFreak.

The Center for Copyright Information unequivocally says that none of the ISPs intend to disconnect users. "This is not a 'six-strikes-and-you’re-out' system that would result in termination. There's no "strikeout" in this program," executive director Jill Lesser wrote today in a blog post.



Subscribers can contest the allegations, but the process leaves something to be desired. Mainly, doing so will cost $35. Also, there's no guarantee of due process in the decision-making.

This program has been in the works since at least the end of 2008 -- which was when the Recording Industry Association of America said it would stop suing suspected file-sharers.

But the change in landscape since then raises significant questions about whether this type of program will curb piracy. Among other changes, people are more likely than before to access movies or music via digital cyberlockers -- which this plan doesn't address.

Clearly, cyberlockers and cloud storage aren't going away any time soon. Just today Wired ran a piece about the new cloud storage venture from Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom. Though under indictment for criminal copyright infringement, he is proceeding with the rollout of a new service, called Mega, which he says is encrypted in a way that blocks outside investigators from accessing material.

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