ISPs reveal details of their ‘six-strikes’ anti-piracy alert systems

Six Strikes Anti Piracy System ISPs

Five of the largest Internet service providers in the U.S. detailed their respective plans this week for implementing the “six strikes” Copyright Alert System. Comcast (CMCSA), AT&T (T), Cablevision (CVC), Time Warner Cable (TWC) and Verizon (VZ) all plan to utilize the system in different ways. Despite the fact that the CAS allows ISPs to terminate service for repeat offenders, none of the major ISPs have chosen to go that far. Penalties will range from annoying pop-up and email alerts to throttled speeds depending on your provider. It should be noted, however, that the “six strikes” system only applies to wired connections and not services from Verizon Wireless or AT&T Mobility. 

Comcast explained on its website that it will issue a total of six alerts after a copyright holder contacts the ISP about possible infringement. The first and second warnings are considered “information-focused alerts,” and will consist of a pop-up notice displayed in a user’s Web browser and an email alert that must be acknowledged. The second and third warnings are considered “warning-focused alerts” and must be acknowledged by the household’s primary account holder. The fifth and sixth warnings are considered “mitigation-focused alerts” and will consist of a persistent in-browser notification that can only be dismissed after a user calls Comcast and has an informative discussion about copyright issues and legal downloading alternatives.

An AT&T spokesperson explained to BGR that the company’s alerts are meant to educate consumers and, unlike other providers, there are no plans to throttle Internet speeds. AT&T will issue a series of warnings to customers who are accused of copyright infringement. After the fourth alert, the accused will be required to review educational materials that highlight the distribution of copyrighted content online. Contrary to earlier reports, AT&T will not block websites.

Cablevision didn’t reveal specific details of how it plans to implement the system, however it did explain that after issuing four informative alerts, customers will be allowed to challenge the copyright allegations within 14 days of receiving their fifth or sixth alert. If copyright infringement continues, Cablevision will suspend a customer’s Optimus Online service for 24 hours.

A Time Warner spokesperson told Mashable that it too has no plans to throttle Internet speeds or terminate a customer’s service. If infringement continues and alerts are ignored, however, the company will issue a “browser lock” that can only be reversed by calling a Time Warner Cable representative.

Verizon is the only provider that will throttle users for downloading copyrighted content. The company will issue a series of alerts and then force repeat offenders to “watch instructional videos about copyright and legal methods of downloading content.” If pirating continues, Verizon will throttle the user’s access to dial-up speeds for between two to three days. The company will inform customers about reduced speeds two weeks prior and will allow users to appeal the piracy accusations.

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