Actually, every online movement always has been either tracked or logged, whether it’s by a provider or advertiser somewhere, but this time providers will be monitoring for illegal downloading or sharing of copyrighted materials. And even if you are not doing the downloading, it could have consequences.
A collaboration called The Center for Copyright Information has organized a plan called the Copyright Alert System to educate the public and cut down online piracy with implementation coming later this year. The group consists of the Motion Picture Association of America, the Recording Industry Association of America and five of the United States’ biggest Internet service providers: AT&T, Cablevision, Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Verizon.
If any illegal downloading activity is found on a user’s Internet protocol address, the user will receive an email saying their account has been used illegally with directions to legal avenues for viewing movies or listening to music. After two warnings, if the activity persists, a third and fourth message will be a pop-up window or landing page requesting a confirmation of receipt. For a fifth infraction an ISP can reduce the user’s Internet speed, force the user to watch an educational video or make the customer call their provider to explain what’s happening. These actions are taken by the ISPs themselves, so each could enforce it differently. Finally, a sixth incident could open the user to be sued. Past lawsuits involving Sony have asked for $10,000 per illegal song or movie.
This new policy puts the IP address holder in blame, rather than the person who actively downloaded the protected content. Anyone attached to the same home or business network uses the same IP address when going out on the Internet. If a household or business has more than one computer, laptop, smartphone or device, they all share the same public IP address.
It will be up to the home or business to determine which machine and which user accessed illegal content.