First revealed last month, this week, the MPAA and RIAA have officially announced their partnership with some of the largest ISPs in the US to try and solve the Internet piracy problem.
Under the new "graduated response" system, users of AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon will be notified five times if their account has been suspected of downloading pirated content, and if they do not change their ways after 5 warnings, ISPs have a range of options to deal with the problem.
Monitoring will be via a third party company, which will watch BitTorrent networks and other public networks and gather IP addresses.
ISPs have been given the freedom to choose how to respond to repeat offenders, with disconnections, speed limiting, and even online education, as possible actions.
Those who think that the ISP is in the wrong, can call for an independent review, at the cost of $35, although there's no more information on how independent the review process will be. One reason users can appeal their punishment is if their Wi-Fi router is unsecured, but users can only use this explanation one time, and it's unclear what kind of leeway businesses that offer free public Wi-Fi will get. If not properly addressed, this could mean the end of free Wi-Fi, as businesses will not want the added cost of being copyright cops.
But the effectiveness of these measures have already been questioned. First of all, only selected networks, such as BitTorrent, are being monitored for pirated activity, mainly because only public Torrent networks allow third party monitor to extract IP addresses. People can then choose to download from digital locker sites, such as RapidShare, or use BitTorrent via encryption and VPN, and completely bypass the monitoring system. And as TorrentFreak points out, in France, where three-strikes is law and disconnection is the punishment, only 4% of polled file-sharers were willing to stop their activities for fear of detection, suggesting the multi-million dollar program may not make financial sense in the long term.
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