ISP Six Strikes Plan Arrives in July – Throttling, Filtering and "Education"

Last summer major ISPs including Comcast, AT&T, Verizon and Cablevision signed off on a new plan by the RIAA and MPAA taking aim at copyright infringers on their networks. According to the plan, after four warnings ISPs are to begin taking “mitigation measures,” which range from throttling a user connection to filtering access to websites until users acknowledge receipt of “educational material.” As you might expect, that educational material’s chapter on fair use rights likely won’t exist.

The plan, as with most plans of this type, was hashed out privately with the government’s help — but with no consumer or independent expert insight. As a result the plan has numerous problems, like relying on the IP address as proof of guilt, placing the burden of proof of the consumer, while forcing users to pay a $35 fee if they’d like to protest their innocence.

While it has taken some time, it now appears that the project is poised to officially begin this July when ISPs will begin their job of playing content nanny in earnest. According to RIAA boss Cary Sherman, there’s no uniform system for ISPs to use in order to track offenders:

“Each ISP has to develop their infrastructure for automating the system,” Sherman said. 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.”

ISPs like Verizon already send users letters at the entertainment industry behest, some going so far as to voluntarily insist that users will have their connections severed if the file transfers persist (in Verizon’s case, we’ve found they’re bluffing). The practices have already resulted in numerous false accusations and more than a few lawsuits by ISPs who have refused to talk whatsoever about the process. As an added bonus, users who don’t pirate can look forward to their bills going up as ISPs pass on the cost of this new system to their subscribers.
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