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ISPs will basically break your Internet service if they catch you pirating too much content

Published Nov 16th, 2012 2:55PM EST
ISP Six Strikes Policy

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Internet Service Providers have long promised/threatened to implement a “six strikes” piracy policy that provides six notifications to alleged pirates before their service is degraded or temporarily revoked. And now, thanks to Ars Technica, we have some details on exactly how the oft-delayed policy will work in practice. Basically, there are three “stages” ISPs will go through before taking action: a “notice” phase that “involves letting users know they’ve been tracked on copyright-infringing sites”; an “acknowledgement” phase in which “the customer will have to actually acknowledge having received those notices”; and finally, the “mitigation” phase where “users who have traded copyrighted files are actually punished.”

And what will these punishments entail? It apparently differs from carrier to carrier. In Verizon’s (VZ) case, for instance, Ars reports that “users will have their speeds throttled for between two and three days,” while Time-Warner Cable (TWC) customers will actually have “popular websites blocked” on their accounts. Ars writes that the ISPs are insisting that these actions aren’t about punishing users as much as they are about “educating” them about the follies of copyright infringement.

“This is not about suing users at all,” said Ron Wheeler, a senior VP at Fox Broadcasting. “This system is not designed to produce lawsuits — it’s designed to produce education.”

The new six strikes policy is slated to be implemented by the end of the year.

Brad Reed
Brad Reed Staff Writer

Brad Reed has written about technology for over eight years at and Network World. Prior to that, he wrote freelance stories for political publications such as AlterNet and the American Prospect. He has a Master's Degree in Business and Economics Journalism from Boston University.