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Obama Admin Backing New Six Strikes ISP Policy

By - Source: The New York Times | B 91 comments

The Obama Administration is reportedly behind a new "six strikes" policy conjured up by five major American ISPs.

AT&T, Cablevision, Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Verizon Wireless have banded together to become a new team of copyright cops in order to help numerous copyright holders wage their war against piracy.

Announced on Thursday, these five companies have agreed to send out warning letters to subscribers caught downloading illegal copies of movies, TV shows and music. The group says that the plan won't violate customer privacy nor will it permanently disconnect them for bad behavior, but worst case scenarios mean that their internet connections will be throttled and/or a person-to-person discussion with the ISP itself.

According to various reports, the offending subscriber will receive a warning email or an online alert after the ISP receives a complaint from a copyright holder. The warning may be followed by a second warning if the illegal downloading persists, or the ISP may instead move to the third stage and activate a popup message or a landing page to make sure the end-user gets the message. The landing page or popup will appear again if the ISP receives a fourth complaint.

On the fifth complaint, ISPs have agreed to either throttle the offending user's connection, or force them to review and respond to educational information on copyright by blocking internet access with a landing page. At this point, ISPs can carry out this particular discipline, or simply issue a fifth alert. But if a sixth complaint is received, ISPs will either throttle the connection or require educational measures. Again, users won't be disconnected permanently, and their personal information will not be forwarded to copyright holders. That said, the ISPs reaffirmed that they still retain their right to cut off any user who violated their terms of service.

“The ISPs want to cooperate with Hollywood because the carriers recognize that their own growth depends in part on bundled content strategies,” said Eric Garland of BigChampagne, which tracks online media traffic. “They don’t want to be just utilities providing Internet access, but premium content distributors as well.”

According to the New York Times, the companies are hoping that the effect on consumers will be more of a "deterrent-by-annoyance" rather than the random Ban-Hammer of litigation that the recording industry association once chose as the preferred method of enforcement. Both the RIAA and MPAA have recently stuck a brick wall in some cases, as various judges have thrown out John Doe complaints due to their belief that they have no jurisdiction over possible offenders residing out-of-state. As of late, these judges have requested solid proof that copyright offenders were discovered to be within their jurisdiction before proceeding any further.

Naturally there are doubts that the new plan will work. The new system seemingly focuses on users who share files on BitTorrent and other peer-to-peer networks. But there are other tools for downloading music and video that aren't quite as obvious including newsreaders accessing Usenet. What will happen to those stubborn offenders who just keep downloading copyrighted content after the sixth warning?

"The challenge is that consumers will continue to do whatever they wish on the Internet, and find clever ways to not attract the attention of the content companies or ISPs,” Garland said. "It will never end."

The agreement between the five ISPs is supposedly the work of "several powerful players" led by the Obama administration including New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D). The White House reportedly is also heavily leveraging the threat of legislation to coerce the ISPs into sticking to the policing scheme.

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Top Comments
  • 27 Hide
    fonzy , July 9, 2011 1:42 AM
    It's getting to the point where you have to choose give up technology or give up your freedom.
  • 24 Hide
    jimmysmitty , July 9, 2011 1:37 AM
    I wonder how much they contribute to his campaign efforts.

    It really is a invasion of privacy. No on should know what you do on the web that you pay for., especially companies that rip you off at every corner.
  • 18 Hide
    Hellbound , July 9, 2011 4:20 AM
    Very interesting.. People who tend to vote for Obama normally want something for nothing... Hes just going to piss off his voters.
Other Comments
    Display all 91 comments.
  • 13 Hide
    techseven , July 9, 2011 1:19 AM
    Watch out, here comes Uncle Sam :o 
  • 16 Hide
    meluvcookies , July 9, 2011 1:25 AM
    This should, sadly, surprise no one. In all honesty, I'm surprised that it didn't happen sooner.

    I have a feeling I'm going to find myself doing the same things I did ~20 years ago (networking with local individuals for share parties. Then it was music, now, I suppose, it will be everything else.

    P.S. I am sad that the federal government is so blatantly beholden to deep pockets. Wouldn't it be nice if things worked more like democracy and less like a plutocracy?
  • -4 Hide
    Anonymous , July 9, 2011 1:35 AM
    here comes the dead of a need for faster adsl & co.
  • 24 Hide
    jimmysmitty , July 9, 2011 1:37 AM
    I wonder how much they contribute to his campaign efforts.

    It really is a invasion of privacy. No on should know what you do on the web that you pay for., especially companies that rip you off at every corner.
  • 27 Hide
    fonzy , July 9, 2011 1:42 AM
    It's getting to the point where you have to choose give up technology or give up your freedom.
  • 1 Hide
    cryptz , July 9, 2011 1:45 AM
    this actually strikes me as being more loose then current regulations (assuming that you arent being sued during warnings 1-5). not to mention i wonder how tightly tracked this would all be. accumulate 5 warnings, switch isp, or simply change billing info on account
  • 18 Hide
    Anonymous , July 9, 2011 1:48 AM
    Once ISP's start losing subscribers due to this new legislation, they'll probably back off from it.
  • 11 Hide
    secolliyn , July 9, 2011 1:50 AM
    This act is supposed to stop the people that well are frankly too stupid to use Usenet. Me and my room mate download things from Usenet all the time. A slow month we will download 2-3 TB sure it Costs us about 15 bux a month+ out internet bill. It also has FULL 256 bit SSL to their servers so our ISP can snoop all they want.... Now for torrents that's EASY just load the torrent and see who your getting it from write down/take a screenshot of that screen and now they have a record of others IP address that are shearing it. As I'm sure 90% of the readers here know that a judge ruled an IP address does not point to a person so really once you get a strike just tell them that you have an unsecured connection and your not responsible i mean come on this is so easy to dodge
  • 12 Hide
    Anonymous , July 9, 2011 1:58 AM
    Shhh Usenet is not for the masses.
  • 5 Hide
    JOSHSKORN , July 9, 2011 2:01 AM
    Where was this law 11 years ago when Metallica sued Napster? Oh, that's right...it was election year and our president had his "IDGAF" hat on and George W. Bush was no help.
  • 8 Hide
    rantoc , July 9, 2011 2:03 AM
    And this will only help VPN business and the like, resulting in higher parts of the Internet traffic ending up encrypted. With higher encrypted traffic it will also be that much harder for the gov to find what they really want, terrorist warnings and the like. If say 2-3% of the traffic is encrypted today and it will be 50-60% tomorrow, how much harder will it be to find what their looking for. Clever indeed!
  • 12 Hide
    ryu750 , July 9, 2011 2:15 AM
    Soon enough free completely anonymous share software will come out.
  • 7 Hide
    Blessedman , July 9, 2011 2:15 AM
    Next ISP's will come and snoop if you have an unsecured network and if they find one probably charge you more.
  • 17 Hide
    Darkerson , July 9, 2011 2:25 AM
    If at first you dont succeed, try five more times :p 
  • 8 Hide
    wild9 , July 9, 2011 2:38 AM
    Jeeze, did someone forget to audit the Federal Reserve? I guess we better not go there, Mr. Obama?!
  • 9 Hide
    wild9 , July 9, 2011 2:42 AM
    Last time I looked, this administration seemed hell-bent on illegally sharing the US with Mexico, turning a blind eye to the illegal dripping of pockets through the Federal Reserve system, and last but by no means least, illegally sharing/destroying countries they have no right nor interest to be in beyond greed. But hey, don't you dare question them..and don't you dare share that file. We just haaaaaaaave to get our priorities right in this sinking ship of a nation..
  • -3 Hide
    wild9 , July 9, 2011 2:53 AM
    techsevenWatch out, here comes Uncle Sam


    IMO! Yep, the Uncle Sam they couldn't even find a bloody birth certificate for! This isn't our real Uncle Sam, it's a fraud, bought and paid for by the offshore interests who don't care whether Uncle Sam is left, right of center..all he has to do is fool enough people, enough of the time. Some people put far too much faith in the likes of Obama, and only now, as this ship sails head first into a storm, do they realise the error of their ways..when it's too late to repair the damage.
  • 6 Hide
    eklipz330 , July 9, 2011 2:54 AM
    i wanna SEE them try and stop me. i don't pirate games, and pirating movies makes no sense because i have netflix and anything can be found on the web

    but nobody will stop me from pirating music. i support the artist by telling other people how good their music is. what would they do without me?
  • 3 Hide
    6kaine9 , July 9, 2011 3:15 AM
    Fact is this "ship" has been gaining water since Clinton left office so don't give me any of "this administration" crap. The fact of the matter is the President is a politician and is doing what is politically expedient (since the lobbiests have so much power). The fact of the matter is anybody can download torrents using peerblock, megaupload using routers, or even avoid downloading anything at all by just streaming the content through icefilms, after all, how can they really tell that you are streaming x movie from y company?
  • 16 Hide
    JD13 , July 9, 2011 3:48 AM
    He has to protect the ones who paid for his campaign.... Hollywood, Oprah....
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