UsenetReviewz Cautions Usenet Subscribers: The 6 Strikes Rules Have Launched

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Late in February the Center for Copyright Information announced the imminent launch of their Copyright Alert System that several major US ISPs are participating in, and UsenetReviewz has been warning Usenet subscribers to take care, or risk receiving copyright infringement warnings.

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February 25th the Center for Copyright Information, (CCI,) announced that their brainchild, the Copyright Alert System, (CAS,) would be rolled out by participating ISPs in the days to come. UsenetReviewz editors maintained vigil on each of the ISPs enrolled in the system waiting for the announcement from each, and examined the details of each providers’ policy as it was published, to outline it for their readers. Up to this point though, the only companies that have published their policies have been Comcast, Time Warner, (as Time Warner Cable – RoadRunner,) Cablevision, (under their Optimum logo,) and Verizon, with AT&T remaining silent excepting for a canned email response from their VP of Public Policy, Brent Olson.

As the CAS will be mainly concerned with P2P activities, file sharing networks like Usenet, bit torrent, and Mega will be the main targets of CCI members. They will scour the networks looking for illegally copied and/or shared content. Once an uploader, or downloader is identified by the content owner, the IP will be ascertained and the CCI will notify the appropriate ISP of the activities. The ISP will then send the email notice to their customer. The CCI and ISPs have repeatedly asserted that at no time will the customers’ identity be exchanged between the agents without a court order, and directions for appeals are outlined in the announcements.

UsenetReviewz reports that in their effort to staunch online piracy, the policies of the four providers are essentially the same for the first four warnings, but in the fifth and sixth alerts there were a few differences. Verizons’ mitigating measures will be to reduce internet access speed for two days on the fifth alert, and three days on the sixth, while Comcast will use persistent alerts in the customers’ browser requesting contact from the customer, though they claim that essential services won’t be interfered with. Cablevision customers will be suspended for a day unless the customer contacts a number provided in the notice, and Time Warner will demand acknowledgement of the alert on the fifth time and the sixth alert will trigger a temporary suspension of services unless an appeal is filed.

Throughout the CCI website and the provider announcements it is claimed that their goal is one of education not punishment. And none of the providers enrolled in the CCI program have adopted a termination of service measure. Appeals to the alerts can be made for a fee of $35, but this fee can be waived if the subscriber meets certain financial criteria. Fees collected will be returned to the subscriber in the event the subscriber wins their appeal. Appeals are to be taken up by the American Arbitration Assn., (AAA,) and must be filed within 14 days of receipt of the notice. There are several grounds that a subscriber can take for appeal, mis-identification, unauthorized use of account, fair use, and a couple others, but the decision of AAA is final. UsenetReviewz editors will keep an eye out for an official statement from AT&T, or an update in their public policies, but until this is made, UsenetReviewz editors will only be able to speculate as to what their “Mitigating Measures” will be.

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Marion Marsahll
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