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December 17th, 2012

“Six Strikes” anti-piracy scheme

Along with resolutions to lose weight, quit smoking, and spend more time with the family, many people can add “I will not illegally download stuff from the internet,” to their New Year’s Resolution list for 2013.

The oft-delayed Copyright Alerts System, or “Six Strikes” anti-piracy scheme, is slated to be implemented sometime in early 2013. The six-strikes-and-you’re-out plan employs an alert system through which subscribers of five major Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in the United States will be warned that they are breaking the law. That includes illegal peer-to-peer file-sharing of movies, music and other entertainment content.

As a first strike, alleged infringers will be notified that they’ve been tracked on copyright-infringing sites. If the behavior continues, the customer will be required to acknowledge that they received the notices.  After several warnings, ISPs may then take progressively harsher steps to punish the suspected pirates such as temporarily throttling their speeds, blocking access to frequently visited websites or redirection to a landing page until the subscriber contacts the ISP. The ISPs actually stop short of the “you’re out” part, so supposedly a subscriber will not have their service terminated.

The “Six Strikes” system is a result of an agreement between members of The Center for Copyright Information (CCI); a group of ISPs and content creators in the movie and music industries created last year. Rather than being a punitive system, the CCI calls the Six Strikes plan a “progressive educational system” stating in a recent blog post explaining the latest delay that, “Our goal has always been to implement the program in a manner that educates consumers about copyright and peer-to-peer networks, encourages the use of legal alternatives, safeguards customer privacy, and provides an easy-to-use independent review program for consumers to challenge alerts they believe they’ve received in error.”