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Major ISPs agree to "six strikes" copyright enforcement plan


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American Internet users, get ready for three strikes "six strikes." Major US Internet providers—including AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, Cablevision, and Time Warner Cable—have just signed on to a voluntary agreement with the movie and music businesses to crack down on online copyright infringers. But they will protect subscriber privacy and they won't filter or monitor their own networks for infringement. And after the sixth "strike," you won't necessarily be "out."

Much of the scheme mirrors what ISPs do now. Copyright holders will scan the 'Net for infringement, grabbing suspect IP addresses from peer-to-peer file-sharing networks. If they see your IP address participating in a swarm for, say, Transformers, they will look up that IP address to see which ISP controls it, then fire off a message.

ISPs have committed to forward such notices to subscribers—though, crucially, they won't turn over actual subscriber names or addresses without a court order. This is a one-way notification process.

The agreement puts heavy emphasis on "education," going so far as to recast this behavior as some "right to know" on the part of parents unaware of a child's P2P activity. According to today's announcement materials, the goal is 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."

It would be much easier to see "education" focus as a principled stand by content owners if they hadn't spent years suing such end users, securing absurd multi-million dollar judgments in cases that they are still pursuing in court. As it is, the shift looks more like a pragmatic attempt to solve a real problem through less aggressive measures after the failure of scorched earth tactics.

In addition, the ISPs were never going to go along with draconian penalties imposed on their own paying customers. The end result, then, is actually a fairly sensible system arrived at years too late, after infringement has already begun its shift away from easily-monitored P2P networks to HTTP streaming and one-click download services which can't be so easily monitored by third parties.

The result is "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) based on the collected say-so of copyright holders. These measures 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).

As such approaches go, this one sounds fairly sane, and ISPs certainly claim the rights to take such actions in their terms of service. The stated goal is to provide enough "education" that the punishment stick can stay in the shed, but there's no avoiding the fact that the "mitigation measures" are the result of private, unverified accusations not vetted by a judiciary. Depending on your view of Internet access—is it a human right as some in the UN think?—such private countermeasures on infringement may look problematic. (The French courts also demanded that any tough measures by ISPs come only after judicial scrutiny, though their system is actually administered by the government; this one, run voluntarily, is not.)

An appeals process does at least exist. Before a "mitigation measure" is taken, users can request an independent review of the accusation, but not from a judge; it remains unclear who exactly will handle the appeal. To keep everyone from using the system every time, there's a $35 filing fee (which can be waived by the independent reviewer). In addition, subscribers can always still sue their ISP in court.

Baby steps to mitigation

The complete list of "alert" steps is included below for your reading pleasure:

First Alert: In response to a notice from a copyright owner, an ISP will send an online alert to a subscriber, such as an email, notifying the subscriber that his/her account may have been misused for content theft, that content theft is illegal and a violation of published policies, and that consequences could result from any such conduct. This first alert will also direct the subscriber to educational resources which will (i) help him/her to check the security of his/her computer and any Wifi network, (ii) provide explanatory steps which will help to avoid content theft in the future and (iii) provide information about the abundant sources of lawful music, film and TV content.

Second Alert: If the alleged activity persists despite the receipt of the first alert, the subscriber may get a second similar alert that will underscore the educational messages, or the ISP may in its discretion proceed to the next alert.

Third Alert: If the subscribers account again appears to have been used for content theft, he/she will receive another alert, much like the initial alerts. However, this alert will provide a conspicuous mechanism (a click-through pop-up notice, landing page, or similar mechanism) asking the subscriber to acknowledge receipt of this alert. This is designed to ensure that the subscriber is aware of the third copyright alert and reminds the subscriber that content theft conducted through their account could lead to consequences under the law and published policies.

Fourth Alert: If the subscribers account again appears to have been used for content theft, the subscriber will receive yet another alert that again requires the subscriber to acknowledge receipt.

Fifth Alert: If the subscribers account again appears to have been used for content theft, the ISP will send yet another alert. At this time, the ISP may take one of several steps, specified in its published policies, reasonably calculated to stop future content theft. These steps, referred to as Mitigation Measures, may include, for example: 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 obligated to impose any Mitigation Measure which would disable or be reasonably likely to disable the subscribers voice telephone service (including the ability to call 911), e-mail account, or any security or health service (such as home security or medical monitoring). The use of the mitigation measure is waivable by the ISP at this point.

Sixth Alert: Whether or not the ISP has previously waived the Mitigation Measure, if the subscribers account again appears to have been used for content theft, the ISP will send another alert and will implement a Mitigation Measure as described above. As described above, it's likely that very few subscribers who after having received multiple alerts, will persist (or allow others to persist) in the content theft.

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Ambrocious

Their goal: force everyone to stop sharing music and movies so as to get everyone to be a collective of singles who can't really be whole while THEY (the oligarchs who now pretty much own the major ISP's) have absolute power to see who you are, what you do, when you do it, how you do it and from what sitting position you do it from. They want to limit our abilities online to just communication only which in my own opinion is like devolving backwards in technology. We need to find new ways to send information across the internet that dwarf simple movie and music sharing. New Operating systems need to be created with legal loop holes that allow for the sharing of files (willingly of course) as a default system property, pushing the envelop and raising the controversy level. The more outrageous they get with tier dictatorial takeover, the more tools and programs we need to do the next big thing to show that we will not devolve. They are pushing forward HARD, so should we.

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MPAA, RIAA Team Up With ISPs to "Alert" Pirates

A breakthrough coalition of the MPAA, RIAA and other copyright holders have signed an agreement with AT&T, Cablevision, Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Verizon to curb piracy. Under the agreement the ISPs agree to send “copyright alerts” to subscribers whose Internet connections are used for copyright infringement. Repeated offenders will not be disconnected from the Internet, but could be slowed down instead.

As unofficially announced last month, a coalition of entertainment industry groups and several major U.S Internet providers have teamed up to curb online piracy. At the center of their plan is a system to notify and educate suspected copyright infringers by sending them so-called ‘copyright alerts’.

According to the participants, including the MPAA, RIAA and all major ISPs, the warning system is likely to result in a massive decrease in online piracy in the U.S. All partners stress, however, that the agreement is merely a ‘common framework’ to deal with copyright infringements and it doesn’t oblige ISPs to disconnect users’ Internet access.

So what the plan?

The new agreement will streamline the current avalanche of DMCA notices Internet providers are already forwarding to their customers. A third-party will monitor file-sharing networks and collect the IP-addresses of suspected infringers. These will then be added to a database and forwarded to the Internet provider who will send a corresponding copyright alert.

This alert will inform the Internet subscriber that his or her account was allegedly used to share copyrighted content, and how to prevent this from happening in the future. If the same IP-address is spotted again a similar alert will be sent, and only after 5 ‘strikes’ will the Internet provider take action.

The ISPs have several options on how to deal with repeat infringers. One of the suggestions is to slow down their connection speed, but ISPs may also temporarily redirect the customer to a landing page which offers instructions on how to engage in a friendly and educational chat with the abuse department.

Before any of the above sanctions go into effect Internet subscribers have the right to call for an independent review at the cost of a $35 filing fee.

But will it be effective?

Not really. First of all this agreement only covers a few of the many sources of online piracy. The millions of U.S. Internet users who download via cyberlockers are not affected by this agreement at all, as these downloads are impossible to track by third parties. The same is true for the many online streaming portals which have become very popular recently.

The agreement is mainly targeted at BitTorrent users, but these can also bypass the copyright alerts quite easily. Signing up for a VPN or proxy does the trick, and the same is probably true for more obscure private BitTorrent trackers which are less likely to be monitored.

A recent survey in France, where Internet users can actually lose their connection, revealed that the new agreement might not be worth the cost. Only 4% of the polled file-sharers said they stopped sourcing music from illegal services out of fear of detection. In the UK, a recent survey by an ISP revealed similar results.

Despite the relative ease with which copyright infringers can bypass the warning system and the lack of deterrence, all parties involved are ecstatic about the new agreement.

“This groundbreaking agreement ushers in a new day and a fresh approach to addressing the digital theft of copyrighted works,” RIAA’s Cary Sherman trumpeted in a comment.

We have our doubts.

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we really need a cc republican in office and not a rino and no more communist democrats. senator clinton should had won instead of commy.

get some good people in the fcc and fix this mess. pro freedom means unlimited access on wire and wireless usage. not this tier crap.

net neutral means unlimited access unlike the democrat meaning of it

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You cannot really believe that with the Clinton lady in office you would have a neutral Internet policy ?!

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You cannot really believe that with the Clinton lady in office you would have a neutral Internet policy ?!

no but i do beleive she should been the democrat nomiee and would had found against rino mccain

i frankly trust her a heck of a lot more then this joker and his czars that believe in chinese version of communism, law and order.we would been a lot better of they we are now with 2 years of its not my fault or problem joker admin.

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@myidisbb: How about this idea:

All of the politicians and parties play a game for the enjoyment of the masses that desire to have a contribution (the voting process - which actually means zer0). It doesn't matter which one of them is in office, because there are others interests way bigger than all of us in the shadows, manoeuvring each important event, and politicians do as they are "suggested", even the president (or accidents tend to happen). So you see, they're only puppets and serve as a diversion, so people would blame them instead the shadowy operators. Actually, as it is obvious, people would rather not look further than the politics stage, believing this is the "big game", when it is actually smoke and mirrors, just another theatre piece played on the stage named "the TV".

Now, article related:

For the people thinking "This is just in US, I'm in [remote country here] and nobody can touch me, hehehe stupid Americans!", I have this classic piece of advice for you:

First they came for the communists,

and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,

and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,

and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for me

and there was no one left to speak out for me.

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funny yet verizon sold its internets lol as far as i knew

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Ambrocious

I'm not for either the democrats of the republicans but I would be for honest people who's stories don't flip flop, like Ron Paul. Both sides are generally corrupt and compromised. For anyone who hasn't seen the Alex Jones documentaries, I strongly suggest you do if you really want to see what we are dealing with.

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Ambrocious

@myidisbb: How about this idea:

All of the politicians and parties play a game for the enjoyment of the masses that desire to have a contribution (the voting process - which actually means zer0). It doesn't matter which one of them is in office, because there are others interests way bigger than all of us in the shadows, manoeuvring each important event, and politicians do as they are "suggested", even the president (or accidents tend to happen). So you see, they're only puppets and serve as a diversion, so people would blame them instead the shadowy operators. Actually, as it is obvious, people would rather not look further than the politics stage, believing this is the "big game", when it is actually smoke and mirrors, just another theatre piece played on the stage named "the TV".

Now, article related:

For the people thinking "This is just in US, I'm in [remote country here] and nobody can touch me, hehehe stupid Americans!", I have this classic piece of advice for you:

First they came for the communists,

and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,

and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,

and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for me

and there was no one left to speak out for me.

Very true indeed, this should be remembered because history often repeats it's self, it just finds upgraded ways to roll out tyranny but the outcome is always death and chaos.

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