So it has begun
It has been leaked to the Daily Dot that starting Monday, February 25 the anti-piracy Six Strikes plan formally known as the Copyright Alert System will be turned on. Five major ISPs including Comcast, Time Warner, Cablevision, AT&T, and Verizon will be participating. This has been in the works for some time after an initial launch delay late last year. Though the launch date hasn’t been formally announced, all indications are that Monday is the day since Torrent Freak now is reporting this as well.
What is it?
The Copyright Alert System is lauded as “an educational” program to alert consumers when they’re sharing/downloading copyrighted materials via BitTorrent. The Daily Dot explained how Six Strikes works:
“It’s an automated “graduated response” system, meaning it slowly ramps up your punishments each time it thinks you’re pirating files. The first two times, you just receive an email and a voicemail saying you’ve been caught. The third and fourth times, you’re redirected to some “educational” material, and you’ll have to click that you understood it. The fifth and sixth times, it gets serious: Your Internet connection can be slowed to a crawl for a few days.”
Note, if one receives a notice and believes it to be in error, they can pay a $35 review fee. If found innocent, the fee will be returned. So much for innocent until proven guilty… then again it has nothing to do with due process.
It’s voluntary by ISPs
While there are legitimate reasons for sharing files via torrent (I’ve downloaded a few ROMs through uTorrent), there’s no doubt that most sharing is done using copyrighted materials. I’m pleading the fifth in this latter case, but that’s irrelevant because participating ISPs are side-stepping the courts and doing this independent of the legal system. Six Strikes is not a new law at all, it’s an optional program much like the ratings system for movies, where there’s no requirement to participate, but all of the big boys are doing it.
Will ISPs pass on IPs of repeat offenders to say, the RIAA who would seek monetary damages? Nobody knows yet. It has been pointed out to me on G+ that some courts have already ruled that an IP alone cannot be enough to pin something on an individual, so I’m sure something Six Strikes related will end up in the courts rather quickly. Hopefully there’ll be more clarity on this soon, but for now it’s up in the air.
So what can you do?
Well you can just stop torrenting all together, which is what these ISPs, the MPAA, and RIAA seem to be going for. You could move to a smaller ISP that’s not participating in Six Strikes including Centurylink, Charter, Cox and Sonic.net among others. There’s also a petition through Fight for the Future telling the ISPs that spying on customers without due process is not OK.
Once again, I’ll plead the fifth on direct knowledge here, I’ll just say I heard about this from a guy… Anyway, if you plan on continuing your torrenting ways, you can setup a Virtual Private Network (VPN), which masks your IP. There’s quite a few VPN providers, but if you go with a company called Private Internet Access, they’ll donate 40% of new subscribers’ service fees to Fight for the Future. Additionally, you can setup VPN Watcher or a similar program that controls your BitTorrent program and will shut it down if a VPN connection is not detected (aforementioned clever guy says to turn off automatic Windows updates, because if they automatically download, install, and re-start your machine, your VPN will be turned off, your BitTorrent program will start back up without the VPN present, and it will not be controlled by VPN Watcher).
Thanks to Steve and David for the additional links.
Source: The Daily Dot