AT&T, Cablevision, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Verizon have reached an agreement with music and movie publishers that will help enforce copyright infringement while giving the ISPs a chance to level with their customers. According to Ars Technica, copyright owners will continue to scour the dark corners of the net looking for anyone downloading and illegally sharing their content. If an IP is found to be downloading or sharing illegal content — likely via P2P networks — the music and movie companies will alert the ISP directly. ISP’s will then send a note to the offending customer, without passing off private information unless there is a court order to do so. Users may get up to four alerts from the ISP, but after that the ISP can choose to start implementing “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 that the ISP may deem necessary to help resolve the matter.” If a user believes he or she has been targeted without merit, an appeals process can be started for a $35 fee but, as Ars Technica notes, it’s unclear who will be the judge in that process. Read on for the full details on the six strikes.
First Alert: In response to a notice from a copyright owner, an ISP will send an online alert to a subscriber, such as an email, notifying the subscriber that his/her account may have been misused for content theft, that content theft is illegal and a violation of published policies, and that consequences could result from any such conduct. This first alert will also direct the subscriber to educational resources which will (i) help him/her to check the security of his/her computer and any Wifi network, (ii) provide explanatory steps which will help to avoid content theft in the future and (iii) provide information about the abundant sources of lawful music, film and TV content.
Second Alert: If the alleged activity persists despite the receipt of the first alert, the subscriber may get a second similar alert that will underscore the educational messages, or the ISP may in its discretion proceed to the next alert.
Third Alert: If the subscribers account again appears to have been used for content theft, he/she will receive another alert, much like the initial alerts. However, this alert will provide a conspicuous mechanism (a click-through pop-up notice, landing page, or similar mechanism) asking the subscriber to acknowledge receipt of this alert. This is designed to ensure that the subscriber is aware of the third copyright alert and reminds the subscriber that content theft conducted through their account could lead to consequences under the law and published policies.
Fourth Alert: If the subscribers account again appears to have been used for content theft, the subscriber will receive yet another alert that again requires the subscriber to acknowledge receipt.
Fifth Alert: If the subscribers account again appears to have been used for content theft, the ISP will send yet another alert. At this time, the ISP may take one of several steps, specified in its published policies, reasonably calculated to stop future content theft. These steps, referred to as Mitigation Measures, may include, for example: 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 that the ISP may deem necessary to help resolve the matter. ISPs are not obligated to impose any Mitigation Measure which would disable or be reasonably likely to disable the subscribers voice telephone service (including the ability to call 911), e-mail account, or any security or health service (such as home security or medical monitoring). The use of the mitigation measure is waivable by the ISP at this point.
Sixth Alert: Whether or not the ISP has previously waived the Mitigation Measure, if the subscribers account again appears to have been used for content theft, the ISP will send another alert and will implement a Mitigation Measure as described above. As described above, it’s likely that very few subscribers who after having received multiple alerts, will persist (or allow others to persist) in the content theft.