Those of you in the United States, get ready for "six strikes". The major American Internet Service Providers (ISPs), which include AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, Cablevision, and Time Warner Cable, have signed on to a voluntary agreement with the movie and music industries to crack down on copyright infringement and piracy. The ISPs say they will protect subscriber privacy and they won"t filter or monitor their own networks for infringement.
According to today"s announcement materials, the goal is to "educate and stop the alleged content theft in question, not to punish. No ISP wants to lose a customer or see a customer face legal trouble based on a misunderstanding, so the alert system provides every opportunity to set the record straight." This proposed one way notification system seems like shift to a more realistic solution, instead of a scorched earth tactic. Copyright holders would scan the web for infringement find out which ISP owns it, and then send a message.
After the sixth strike a subscriber wont necessarily be "out", according to Ars Technica. ISPs have agreed to institute "mitigation measures" based on the collected say-so of copyright holders. These measures begin with the fifth or six alert. They include reduction of Internet speeds, redirection to a landing page asking the subscriber to contact the ISP, or a requirement to review educational materials about copyright infringement. There is no requirement that ISPs disconnect a user"s Internet connection at any point, and indeed ISPs say they will refuse any measure that might cut off a user"s phone service, e-mail access, "or any security or health service (such as home security or medical monitoring)."