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Monday, October 29, 2012

US ISP Will Start Sending Infringement Warnings

According to media reports, one of the largest US broadband providers, AT&T, is ready to start sending anti-piracy warnings next month. The company’s management has already decided how and when they will act. 

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Apparently, AT&T had come up with a plan to apply the “six-strikes” graduated response system. In means that the users who often visit “notorious sites” won’t be able to access them any longer, until they pass an online copyright education. The “six-strikes” regime was the idea of the entertainment industry and involved 5 largest American ISPs – together they made up the Center for Copyright Information.

Although AT&T made no official statements about a launch date, some of the documents leaked from the ISP proved what the company was planning to start soon. The papers informed the ISP’s employees about the upcoming changes, saying that in an attempt to help the rights holders fight online piracy, they should send warnings to the customers who are found to be downloading illegal material.

The copyright holders issue reports containing IP-addresses associated with the infringing activities. The Internet service provider promised not to share any personally identifiable data about its subscribers with rights holders until authorized by the subscriber or required to do so by the court. The leaked papers specify a launch date as of 4 weeks from now. According to other information, the remaining ISPs (which are Verizon, Cablevision, Comcast, and TWC) will also join action the same day.

The document also reveals details on how the ISP will punish its users after the 6th strike. In this event, repeated copyright infringers that access “rogue websites” will be redirected to an educational page and have to complete an online course on copyright before they get access to the web again. However, after the 5th notification, the copyright holder has the right to pursue legal action against the subscriber and may seek a court order that requires an ISP to hand over personal details.

Although these measures don’t mean suspending an account, the broadband providers still have to collect the IP addresses of users they send notifications to. Afterwards, the MPAA and the RIAA could use them for further investigation. Well, we’ll see if their efforts ever prove to be worth all the trouble.

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