“Six Strikes” Download Laws Set to Take Affect with ISPs in the US

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The Center for Copyright Infringement (CCI) has its finger on the trigger of the new “Six Strikes” download laws, in partnership with all of the major ISP’s in the United States.  For the uninitiated, the “Six Strikes” download laws are a new initiative for tracking and monitoring at the major US Internet Service Providers (ISP’s).  In a nutshell, the scam goes like this:  your downloads are tracked, you are sent a threatening letter (six times?!), and you get extorted by the MPAA/RIAA.  For many of you, that scam is well known.  Since the days of Napster, monitoring has been used to generate threatening letters.  Along with those letters came the demand for “damages”, usually in the form of thousands of dollars.  If you didn’t pay, the damages just got worse, and you went to court.  History has shown that’s no better than rolling the dice.  Cases have stacked up on both sides: ridiculous lawsuits against old women, and unwitting users losing hundreds of thousands of dollars.  Long story short, the method is not new and is well known to produce court cases in volume.

So what makes this new “CCI” initiative new?  Simple, a huge partnership with the ISP’s.  AT&T, Cablevision, Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Verizon are all in on the action with CCI.  Although TorrentFreak is reporting no letters have been generated, it’s only a matter of time.  The system is in place, the laws have been prepared, and the method of enforcement is ready.  American internet users beware, the combination of multiple large market ISP’s gives this initiative deep penetration in the entire US marketIf you’re a residential US customer with broadband internet: cable, fiber, dsl, etc – this initiative will affect you!

The new “Six Strikes” law is described on the CCI website: http://www.copyrightinformation.org/alerts.  American users should be careful and consider that although you get “Six Strikes” (six letters), by the third letter you will be asked to “confirm your receipt” of the letters.  That could very well spell bad news for the user with MPAA/RIAA.  The fifth and six strikes trigger “mitigation actions” by the ISP.  This could mean anything from speed caps to termination of your internet account!  It’s no wonder the US ISP’s are slow to start this process…once it starts and letters are generated the process leads where it leads…It seems naieve to think this won’t be used to drive a lawsuit from MPAA/RIAA with a request for financial damages.  A recent court case, after many appeals, finally decided for $2,200 a song!

The best advice for American internet users is to take defensive action.  It’s obvious you don’t want to be receiving any of these letters and appearing on the radar of the CCI and its partners.  ISP’s aren’t wild about this plan (they never are), but their option space is always decreasing.  This leaves the users with the burden of taking action to prevent any problems.  American users of BitTorrent, online storage lockers (Rapidshare, etc.), and other P2p/Filesharing should definitely be taking note of the new initiative by CCI.  Simple defensive action could include secure connections, disguising the IP address, or using third party services/apps.

Secure connections such as SSL encryption can help.  Most any Usenet plan worth its salt should have SSL included.  Disguising the IP address can also be done simply with personal VPN services.  To top it off, many third parties offer software applications or services that can secure your access online.  It is clear that American users should make their first priority to be ahead of the curve and take defensive action FIRST.  Don’t wait for the first letter to show up!


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