What is ‘Six Strikes’? To be honest, unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past 18 months, as a US citizen, you’re bound to have heard of this effort. We first reported that the movie and music industries had successfully lobbied some of the biggest ISPs in the country to sign up to a voluntary agreement to crack down on copyright infringement and piracy.
The program would give the end user six strikes (hence the name) before more serious action would be taken against them. Imagine getting a letter from either your ISP or the copyright holder saying cease and desist all downloading and sharing of our property; that’s strike one there. And so on, until strike six is hit.
The proposed start date of July 2012 came and went, but ‘Six Strikes’ failed to materialise. “By the end of the year” was pencilled in as the date of the programs commencement. But rumours started to circulate that the delay would run into the New Year. Well, that’s exactly what’s happened, with “the early part of 2013” being scheduled in to the Center for Copyright Administration’s calendar; they are administering the program.
Claims that “unexpected factors largely stemming from Hurricane Sandy” are to blame are the official reasons for the delay, but whispers have this pegged as an excuse for other problems. Basically, the program was not ready to be implemented, at least in the state it was in.
But, regardless of ‘Six Strikes’ readiness, it is set to come into play at some point. It’s then both the ISPs and the entertainment industry as a whole that will proceed to seriously irk their best customers.
It's voluntary though
No matter what way you look at this, someone is going to be put out. The ISPs only signed up on a voluntary basis; if their customer base starts to dwindle, they are entitled to jump ship. In turn, the entertainment industry will cry foul and say not enough is being done, all from the comfort of their very, very well paid legal team’s penmanship.
It’s a vicious cycle. Many people argue that the music industry is still clinging onto archaic business practices and should be working with the technology at their disposal to improve the services they offer users. The music, film and television industries argue that downloading hurts their sales, box office return and viewing figures respectively, and that file sharing is killing the industry (much like home taping killed the music industry?). The ISPs say they shouldn’t have to police the internet, and that their users privacy should remain just that.
So whenever ‘Six Strikes’ goes live, will it really make a difference to your browsing and downloading habits? Or more importantly, if enough of you switch ISPs because of the MPAA or RIAA hassle, will the ISPs start to question their involvement?