Six strikes and you’re screwed: What the upcoming piracy crackdown means for you

Posted on March 31, 2012

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Starting July 1, the nation’s largest Internet service providers (ISPs) have agreed to adopt a “Graduated Response” program intended to cut down on illegal file sharing. The program, colloquially known as the “six-strikes” system, is the brainchild of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) — the same industry groups that conjured up SOPA and PIPA. The system will affect millions of Internet users across the country. Whether you download your music and movies from the Internet or not, it is important for everyone to understand what the plan is, and how it could affect your life. Here is everything you need to know about “six-strikes.”

How does it work, in a nutshell?

Anytime copyright holders find that their content is being illegally downloaded, they will contact the participating ISPs. The ISPs will then send out an initial “copyright alert” to accounts linked to the alleged infringement. If a subscriber’s account continues to be linked to infringement, his or her ISP will send out up to four written notices, the natures of which are sometimes vague and varying. If the alleged infringement continues still, the ISP will then take “mitigation measures,” which include bandwidth throttling (i.e. slowing down the accused subscriber’s connection), or even temporarily cutting off full Web browsing abilities. In cases where alleged infringement persists after the initial mitigation measure, the subscriber may face lawsuits from the copyright holder, and/or have their Internet access cut entirely, in accordance with section 512 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DCMA).

Who is in charge of this system?

Administering “six strikes” is a new entity called the Center for Copyright Information (CCI), which was established by the entertainment industry and the ISP industry. (Internet users were not part of the negotiations.) The CCI will be governed by a six-person executive committee, made up of three representatives of the copyright industry, and three representatives of participating Internet service providers. There will also be a three-person advisory board, made up of people “from relevant subject matter and consumer interest communities,” who represent us, the Internet users, in all this. Though, from the looks of it, the advisory committee appears to be mostly ornamental.

Yahoo News

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