Comcast, Time Warner, and Verizon will start spying on their users and acting as the copyright industry's private police force come July 1.
America's top ISPs last year agreed to the demands of the music and movie industry to implement "graduated response" to copyright policing, by monitoring the usages of users, and sending them warnings regarding alleged infringing activities. ISPs would then act as the judge, jury and executioner, by unilaterally taking action against its own customers without due process.
Under the deal, ISPs would be responsible for determining the course of action to take for repeat offenders, which could include anything from speed throttling to a temporary or even permanent suspension of Internet access (although no ISP so far has indicated that they will adopt this harshest form of punishment).
With due process not being offered via the court system, users have the option for opt for independent arbitration, at the cost of $35 (which will be refunded if the user is successful in overturning a warning/action). It is unclear who will end up paying for the full cost of arbitration, since critics have often attacked the arbitration process as biased against consumers, and biased towards those that actually pay the bills.
The arbitration costs aside, the other expenses, such making infrastructure changes to allow for the active monitoring of user activity, and the ongoing maintenance costs of maintaining a database of user "wrongdoings", will fall solely on the shoulders of ISPs. The significant cost of doing all of this will most likely get passed on to all end users, even those that have stayed well within the boundaries of copyright law.