The commonly called “six-strikes rule” has been batted around since 2011. The fairly new Center for Copyright Information is the driving force behind this initiative which they refer to as the “Copyright Alert System.” When internet service providers detect the unauthorized access to copyrighted content, they send warnings to subscribers. Repeat offenders may experience temporarily reduced internet speed, temporary downgrade in service tier or a compulsory online education program. Subscribers penalized with the online education program would be redirected to the page. Though it’s not explicitly stated, it is implied that no other internet access would be allowed until the online program is completed.
The CCI provides this video to explain the system:
So, while you’re safely looking at funny pet pictures on a website, downloading funny pet videos might be another story altogether. For that matter, someone hacking into your wireless (if it’s encrypted) or borrowing your wireless might get you flagged.
Content owners are driving this system, by lurking in places they suspect are illegally sharing their content. They then notify an ISP who alerts the subscriber. When infringement stops, so do alerts. Subscribers should not be continually reminded of past red flags, only current ones. Thus far, it appears that ISPs won’t cancel subscriptions due to alerts, but they might slow or downgrade your service.
For subscribers who feel they’ve been wrongly targeted, they can challenge the alerts (or so it says in the video). What the video neglects to mention is that challenges aren’t free or simple. The initial alerts, educational in nature are not reviewable. Alerts that contribute to mitigation (slowing or other impairment of your connection) can be challenged.
According to the CCI, challenges must be submitted within 14 calendar days “from your ISP’s system.” We’re not sure, however what that means exactly. Hopefully when an alert is presented, so too will be the means to challenge it. The review is independent and run by the American Arbitration Association. It also will cost you $35. Oh, and there’s a list of accepted reasons for requesting a review, so you’d better not have a unique or original reasoning.
Don’t Risk It
Any mitigation measures are suspended once you’ve filed everything. There’s currently no indication of a standard time frame for the review process. If your challenge is deemed successful you’ll get back your $35 and previous alerts will “no longer be associated” with your account. Though, we’re not sure if that means your record is expunged. If you’re denied, you forfeit the $35 fee and are subjected to mitigation measures by your ISP.
If you’re not already worried about how much of your personal information is on the web, it seems like this is one more way to risk your private and personal information. The CCI asserts that although content owners can report IP addresses to ISPs, Personal information about consumers won’t be shared by ISPs. You may not change the way you access the web, but you should double check that you’ve secured your wireless network.
Do you think this program will change the way people access content? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.