The nation’s major internet service providers by year’s end will institute a so-called six-strikes plan, the “Copyright Alert System” initiative backed by the Obama administration and pushed by Hollywood and the major record labels to disrupt and possibly terminate internet access for online copyright scofflaws.
The plan, now four years in the making, includes participation by AT&T, Cablevision Systems, Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Verizon. After four offenses, the historic plan calls for these residential internet providers to initiate so-called “mitigation measures” (.pdf) that might include reducing internet speeds and redirecting a subscriber’s service to an “educational” landing page about infringement.
The internet companies may eliminate service altogether for repeat file-sharing offenders, although the plan does not directly call for such drastic action.
Here’s how the program works:
On the first offense, internet subscribers will receive an e-mail “alert” from their ISP saying the account “may have been” misused for online content theft. On the second offense, the alert might contain an “educational message” about the legalities of online file sharing.
On the third and fourth infractions, the subscriber will likely receive a pop-up notice “asking the subscriber to acknowledge receipt of the alert.”
After four alerts, according to the program, “mitigation measures” may commence. They 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 (as specified in published policies) that the ISP may deem necessary to help resolve the matter.”
Sohn said copyright scofflaws are not going to be dinged each time internet-snoop MarkMonitor detects infringement on peer-to-peer file-sharing networks.
“Each strike is not one infringement. Each strike is dozens or scores or hundreds of infringements,” Sohn said in a telephone interview.
Lesser explained that, when the first infringement is detected, “you will get an alert.”
But after that, strikes will only be counted every seven days. “There’s a grace period between each alert,” Lesser said.
“The goal was to come up with a program that was educational in nature, not with the intention of being punitive,” she said.
A spokeswoman for MarkMonitor said the San Francisco company has a policy of not publicly discussing its clients.
None of the ISPs involved responded for comment. The RIAA did not respond for comment.