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ISPs in the US join forces to serve “six strikes” to illegal downloaders

Caroline Baldwin

Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in the US are leading a campaign to target piracy using a “six strike” warning system.

Rather than targeting the pirates, the Copyright Alert System (CAS) scheme will send warnings to consumers. It aims to educate potential copyright infringers by alerting consumers who use accounts to share content illegally over peer-to-peer (P2P) networks.

“Most consumers will never receive alerts under the programme. Consumers whose accounts have been used to share copyrighted content over P2P networks illegally (or without authority) will receive alerts that are meant to educate rather than punish, and direct them to legal alternatives,” wrote Jill Lesser of the Center For Copyright Information (CCI) on a blog post.

After the first alert, if a user continues to share copyrighted material, they will receive five more alerts or “strikes”.

The CCI also said that consumers who receive alerts in error will able to begin proceedings for an independent review of their case.

ISPs in the US taking part in the scheme include AT&T, Cablevision, Comcast, Time Warner and Verizon. These ISPs will then individually choose how to respond to users who have received six warnings; however punishments have yet to be outlined.  According to the BBC, Verizon stated in an FAQ that it would slow infringers’ speeds down to 256Kbps, however the statement has been since deleted from its website.

Some organisations have voiced their fears over the CAS scheme, calling for an independent body to regulate the process.

Six months ago, Google said it would take into account how many copyright infringement notices a website had received when determining its ranking in search results, however, last week music companies have accused Google of failing to fulfil its pledge.

According to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), known illegal download websites such as mp3skull.com still appear in the first page of results for 98% of top music searches.

The RIAA said Google had received more than 100,000 copyright infringement notifications against mp3skull.com, yet it still appears more often in the top 10 results than licensed retailers such as Apple.


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