Gears of Tech

Technology. Pure and simple.

Six Strike Policy to be Implemented for Consumers Caught Torrenting


At the end of the month a “six strike” anti pirating policy will be introduced for the USA. So what is the “six strike” policy? Last year the MPAA along with the RIAA teamed up with: Comcast, Verizon, AT&T, Time Warner Cable, and Cablevision in order to curb pirating in the United States.

The system works on a basis of warnings which notify subscribers that there are infringing on copyrights that have been observed by certain monitoring agencies. After several warnings ISPs may take a variety of measures to punish the alleged infringers. However, it is not good business practice to punish these infringers. Why? Previously infringers would get multiple warnings without interrupted or slowed service. Infringers would keep paying their subscription fee and the cable company would continue to make money. Both parties here are happy, while the only losing team here seems to be the copyrights holders. Now that all changes with the “six strike” policy.

Verizon and Timer Warner have teamed up to throttle and restrict customers who are caught pirating anything. At the INET New York conference, Verizon revealed that it will give users a two week warning before throttling their internet connections for a few days. Users can appeal their cases for $35 through a third party firm, however full restoration of internet service is not guaranteed.

Verizon outlined their punishment policy indicating the first and second warnings are simply popup notifications, where consumers would acknowledge that they are aware of illegal sharing which is occurring on their account. The real punishments come on the fifth and sixth alerts where infringers will have their internet connections throttled, resulting in significantly reduced download speeds. Time Warner Cable noted that they will taking a different approach, instead of reducing connection speeds they will restrict a user’s browsing by directing them to a certain landing page. It was not specified what type of browsing will result in a “redirect”.

The director of the Center for Copyright Infringement (CCI), Jill Lesser, noted that there were ways to circumvent the monitoring systems that they have in place. However, those are the “hardcore” pirates and are currently not being targeted by the CCI.

Ultimately the question is will this “six strike” policy affect the business of these service providers? I think this will curb some pirating. Some may even switch to smaller service providers in an attempt to continue pirating with conventional means. However, this doesn’t effectively solve the problem of pirating. Those who want to pirate will continue to pirate and find other ways in doing so. In order to stop pirating more actions must be taken than simply implementing a “six strike” rule. Which may be very difficult in today’s world.