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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

US ISP Voluntarily Enforced Graduated Response System

Despite the fact that Mediacom, one of the largest ISPs in the country, isn’t to be a part of the “six-strikes” regime, it decided to punish its subscribers by permanently cutting their broadband connection in case they are alleged of unauthorized file-sharing.

Normally, copyright owners have to send DMCA takedown notices to broadband service providers to force them take action or ignore. However, Mediacom decided to apply its own policies, which include the permanent disconnection from the web after a third accusation.

Official site of the company explains that the first DMCA notice results in flagging the account and sending a warning to the subscriber. The second notice leads to an account suspension, with the access being only reinstated after some paperwork. Finally, the third notice is the end of the subscriber, because he or she loses Internet access and is banned for life. This is the problem. Even if a subscriber claims that someone else is responsible for infringement, the ISP doesn’t care about it, as the account owner is believed to be completely responsible for what is going on with the connection. Worse still, the ISP can even apply an early termination fee. The most appalling part is that even the “six-strikes” scheme doesn’t involve a lifelong ban of the account, as it’s really unconceivable.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has already commented on the case. The outfit said that taking into account the importance of connectivity it’s not very good that the ISP terminates after 3 accusations, which are not even proofs of wrongdoing.

The best option here is to switch from Mediacom to another provider, but it may be a problem for people living in the region where there is no alternative. Fortunately, Mediacom’s subscribers have a chance to counter allegations of copyright violations. When this counter notification paperwork is done, the ISP will pass it to the rights owner, and the latter would pursue action as they choose. Of course, this can also result in legal action like lawsuits between the rights owner and the subscriber, and this is not something an individual can afford. Not very good news for the ISPs subscribers, in short words.

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