1709 Blog: for all the copyright community

Thursday, 15 March 2012

ISPs' six strikes enforcement plan in force next July

Six strikes and you're out ...
always disappointing
As our readers may remember, in summer last year some major US ISPs (AT&T, Cablevision, Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Verizon) entered an agreement with music and film industries to adopt and implement policies aimed at discouraging their customers from illegally downloading copyright-protected materials (see Ben's post here).

Since then, this agreement has been referred to as 'graduated response' or, as Ars Technica called it, 'six strikes' enforcement plan.

When entering the agreement, ISPs made it clear that they would protect their subscribers' privacy and not filter or monitor their own networks for infringement. In addition, it was agreed that ISPs would never terminate an Internet connection entirely, or otherwise interfere with subscribers' ability to receive phone calls and emails.
As explained in Time Magazine, this is how the six strikes policy would work: 
1) If a copyright owner complains to an ISP (presumably, based on sniffing out IP addresses through BitTorrent),then that service provider sends an online alert such as an email to the subscriber. The alert explains how to secure a wireless network, how to avoid copyright violations in the future and how to lawfully obtain content in the future.2) A second alert may follow if illicit file-sharing persists, or the ISP may move on to the next alert.3) With the third alert, there will be some kind of mechanism (like a pop-up notice or landing page) to ensure that the subscriber received the message.4) Another alert. Same drill as the last one.5) On the fifth alert, the ISP may take action, such as temporarily reducing connection speeds or requiring the user to review and respond to educational information on copyright. The ISP may also skip the mitigation measures and just issue another alert.6) By the sixth alert, all participating ISPs will either throttle the user or require educational measures. The entertainment industry doesn’t expect that many people will persist with copyright violations at this point.
Since the six strikes policy was adopted, however, the parties to the agreement have gone rather quiet … Until yesterday, at least.
It was not easy to find
skilled players to develop
an efficient six strikes
infrastructure
Indeed, during a panel discussion at the annual meeting of the Association of American PublishersRIAA's CEO Cary Sherman announced that most of the participating ISPs are on track to begin implementing the program by next 12 July, as reported by CNET.
As explained by Sherman, this is because the six strikes policy would have taken a year to set up, in that "each ISP has to develop their infrastructure for automating the system". They need this "for establishing the database so they can keep track of repeat infringers, so they know that this is the first notice or the third notice. Every ISP has to do it differently depending on the architecture of its particular network. Some are nearing completion and others are a little further from completion."
It will be interesting to see the six strikes policy actually in force, especially now that proposed legislative initiatives such as SOPA and PIPA have never been least popular, both in the US and abroad.

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