The entertainment industry and major U.S. Internet Service Providers have concocted a new "six strikes" plan to combat, educate, and punish people sharing copyrighted files online. Major entertainment companies including EMI, Sony Music, Sony Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox, Universal Music, Universal Studios, Walt Disney Studios, Warner Music, and Warner Bros. are betting that the new process could reduce illegal file sharing by as much as 70 percent.
The new plan was announced Thursday under the banner of the newly formed Center For Copyright Information. The agreement is relatively close to rumors about a new antipiracy plan that were circulating in late June.
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Based on CFCI guidelines, online pirates who persist in sharing copyrighted music, movies and television episodes will be sent a series of six increasingly severe alerts from their ISP. The alerts ultimately include punishments such as bandwidth throttling, temporary suspension of service, and copyright reeducation. ISPs signed up for the plan include AT&T, Cablevision Comcast Time Warner, and Verizon. Victoria Espinel, U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator, expressed support for the plan on The White House blog.
Online piracy costs the U.S. economy $58 billion in losses every year, including 373,000 jobs, the entertainment industry argues based on a 2007 study. These groups also say the evils of peer-to-peer file-sharing such as BitTorrent expose your personal data to viruses, and consume about 25 percent of global bandwidth. Whether you accept these arguments or not, the fight to stop online piracy in the U.S. could directly affect you if you trade copyrighted material online. Here's a look at the six alerts the entertainment industry and your ISP have in store for those who dare to pirate on the open digital seas.
It's important to note that for each of these strikes, a content owner like a movie or recording studio has to send a separate complaint to your ISP that says someone used your Internet connection to trade pirated material.
Strike 1: You get an email or other electronic notification alleging that someone used your Internet connection to trade copyrighted material. The notification will also include tools to help you secure your computer and keep your Wi-Fi connection secure from cheap neighbors or passersby; a handy series of steps to help you avoid content theft in the future; and links to legitimate online storefronts to buy or view licensed music, movies and television episodes.
Strike 2: You get another notification similar to Strike 1 or your ISP escalates action to the next strike.
Strike 3: Another email notification, but this time it includes what is essentially a read receipt to make sure you saw the notification. The read receipt could include a link to an outside webpage or some kind of pop-up window.
Strike 4: Another alert similar to Strike 3.