File-sharers, beware: By July 12, major US Internet service providers (ISPs) will voluntarily begin serving as copyright police for the entertainment industry, according to Cary Sherman, chief executive of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). The so-called “six-strikes” plan is said to be one of the most effective anti-piracy efforts ever established in the US.
The “gradual response” program works like this: ISPs will automatically monitor the Web activity of their customers. If a subscriber is found to be downloading copyrighted content illegally, their ISP will send them an “educational” notice saying such activity has been detected from IP addresses linked to their account. If that customer continues to download content illegally, the ISP will send “confirmation notices” to make sure they received the original notices. If copyright infringing activity continues still, the ISP then reserves the right to throttle Web access speeds, or cut off a subscriber’s Internet access altogether, at least until that user agrees to stop pirating copyrighted material. According to CNet, the ISPs have the option to skip these “mitigation measures,” and none have yet committed to completely cutting Internet access.