Verizon Wireless and Time Warner Cable have opened up on their specific plans regarding how they’ll crack down on BitTorrent use when the “six strike” policy begins at the end of November. The actions will come as a result of the alliance among major Internet providers with the MPAA and RIAA against increasing online piracy.
Customers deemed by Time Warner to have illegally downloaded music, movies, or other copyrighted files will be notified by pop-ups or by being redirected to an educational page, according to Torrent Freak. Verizon Wireless Internet subscribers will be contacted via email or a phone call.
It has been previously reported that AT&T will halt access to a customer’s most visited websites if the company claims to have found a user downloaded material illegally.
These techniques have been criticized by Internet rights advocates because the new methods of copyright enforcement are final, and up to the major companies to determine. Instead of trial by judge and jury, privacy watchdogs have asserted, a customer can have their guilt determined by the ISPs. Time Warner, Verizon, AT&T, Cablevision and Comcast will monitor a customer’s downloading habits and bandwidth usage.
The six strike policy allows the ISPs to toggle an Internet service -- even suspend it indefinitely -- and recommend legal action for users that ignore warnings. One criticism alleges that the ability of an ISP to accurately determine who downloaded something is murky, at best. A judge in California recently ruled someone could not be prosecuted because files were downloaded to their IP address, the same manner ISPs will begin using to determine guilt.
During a panel with ISP executives Jill Lesser, executive director for the Center for Copyright Infringement, said the plan is designed to intimidate and educate casual downloader’s, not ones educated in ways of the Internet.
“Yes, there are ways around it, and yes there are other ways to pirate,” Lesser said of the six strike program.
Details of Verizon’s copyright enforcement came after a report from MediaMatters.org describing the company’s desire to slow a user’s Internet if they are visiting a page promoting a message Verizon does not agree with. Verizon lawyers responded with the censorship allegations by comparing the communication giant to a newspaper editor.