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'Six-strike' anti-piracy programme launched by US Internet providers

This week, the United States' five largest Internet service providers - AT&T, Cablevision, Comcast, Time Warner and Verizon - started to implement their long-gestated anti-piracy programme. The so-called Copyright Alert System is inspired by France's 3-strike system, except that in the US, the carrot is bigger: those who download illegally copyrighted material will receive six strikes before getting a taste of the stick.

At the end of a series of six alerts, accused infringing customers could have their home Internet connection significantly slowed down. Those accused of infringing can file an appeal for $35.

The first two alerts come in the form of emails letting the account owner know of the activity and suggesting alternate legal ways to download content. The next two alerts are sterner, requiring account owners to acknowledge receipt of the alert. If those first four alerts fail to deter illegal downloading, the fifth and sixth alerts contain "mitigation measures," which range at ISPs' discretion from mandatory copyright tutorials to 48-hour severe reductions in Internet speed. No ISP will completely terminate Internet service under CAS, regardless of the number of strikes an account holder racks up.

The group known as the Center for Copyright Information (CCI) is funding the new system. The CCI consists of the five major American ISPs, the Motion Picture Association of America and the Recording Industry Association of America.

Story filed 04.03.13

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