The piracy bullies want your ISP to do their dirty work

It didn't end with SOPA. Now it's time to stop the next phase of the RIAA, MPAA, and content cartel's war on downloaders

The piracy bullies are back in the news, and this time they're bringing powerful friends. Having failed to coerce Congress into passing SOPA or PIPA last January, the RIAA, MPAA, and other members of the content cartel are getting new allies in the war on scurvey Internet scofflaws: the nation's biggest Internet service providers.

(Today's Notes From the Field is being brought to you by Four Letter Acronyms Inc., or FLAI.)

[ As Cringely pointed out, SOPA's defeat wouldn't end the fight against invasive antipiracy measures. | For a humorous take on the tech industry's shenanigans, subscribe to Robert X. Cringely's Notes from the Underground newsletter. | Get the latest insight on the tech news that matters from InfoWorld's Tech Watch blog. ]

Per Cnet's Greg Sandoval, the aforementioned FLAs outlined their plans to introduce ISP-level scanning for copyrighted materials before a meeting of the Association of American Publishers last week. Sandoval quoted RIAA CEO Cary Sherman thusly:

Each ISP has to develop their infrastructure for automating the system...[and] for establishing the database so they can keep track of repeat infringers, so they know that this is the first notice or the third notice. Every ISP has to do it differently depending on the architecture of its particular network. Some are nearing completion and others are a little further from completion.

Sandoval adds:

Participating ISPs can choose from a list of penalties, or what the RIAA calls "mitigation measures," which include throttling down the customer's connection speed and suspending Web access until the subscriber agrees to stop pirating.

Isn't that special? Yes, but not terribly surprising. This has been in the works for more than a year, and little wonder; with media companies like Time Warner (CNN, TBS, Warner Music Group, Warner Bros. Entertainment) and Comcast (NBC, MSNBC, USA Network) at the top of the broadband ISP food chain, the content deliverers are also the content owners. The news here is they've named a start date of July 12.

There are a lot of problems with this scheme, the most notable of which is that for ISPs to find copyright violators they have to sniff the data streams of all of their customers, including the 99.9 percent who did not download Young Jeezy's "Thug Motivation 103" the second it hit the torrent sites. I call that a gross violation of my privacy. (Speaking of thug motivation....)

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