5 internet service providers, including AT&T, Verizon, Time Warner Cable, Comcast, and Cablevision launched their “Six Strikes” anti-piracy program this Monday. The program is the latest attempt for ISPs to stop its users from pirating software and media illegally. At the launch of the piracy program, the ISPs kept quiet about the consequences that would ensue if the users reached their 5th or 6th warning, but now they’ve explained their punishments.
AT&T’s methods will focus more on educating its users about online piracy in order to deter them from it. If a user reaches their 5th or 6th warning, AT&T will “demand they take an extra step to review materials on an online portal that will educate them on distribution of copyrighted content online.” Users will have to review the materials before they are able to access other websites. AT&T has said that they will not throttle its users data speeds.
Verizon, however, will throttle its users data speeds. Customers who reach their 5th or 6th warning will have to watch instructional videos about downloading copyright material legally at first, and if they still proceed to pirate, they will have their data speeds reduced to dial-up speeds. The throttle will last 2-3 days. The users will be warned 2 weeks in advance before their speeds are throttled, just in case there is something wrong on Verizon’s side and the users want to dispute the warnings. To appeal the warnings, users will have to pay a $35 fee, which will be returned if the user is granted the appeal.
Comcast, like AT&T, will not cap its users data speeds. If they reach their 5th/6th warning, they will receive constant in-browser alerts about their piracy, and in order to stop the alerts, they will have to call Comcast Security Assurance, who will then lecture them on copyright methods and how to download legal content. Like AT&T, Comcast’s goal is to inform its customers.
Time Warner Cable will not throttle its users data speeds either, but users will receive a lock on their internet browsers if they reach the 5th/6th alert. In order to remove the lock, like Comcast, users will have to contact customer service where they will receive a lecture on copyright methods and legal alternatives to downloading media.
Cablevision didn’t chime in with their consequences, but it seems that Verizon will be the only company that will throttle its users’ data speeds. With Cablevision, you’ll probably receive a lecture as well. So far none of the companies plan on terminating their contracts with their users due to piracy. These details of the consequences for violating the “six strikes” program does make the program seem less intense, compared to when we really didn’t know what they had planned. What do you think of the ISPs’ anti-piracy program?