By Alexandra Burlacu | Mar 01, 2013 10:07 AM EST
The Copyright Alert System (CAS) known as "six strikes" finally made its debut, with both Verizon and Comcast activating the service.
The group known as the Center for Copyright Information (CCI) is funding the new system. The CCI consists of five major American ISPs, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). The system was in the works for years and may mark a major change in the U.S. copyright infringement system.
Both Verizon and Comcast activated the service on Wednesday, Feb. 27, and updated their terms of service. Both also informed their customers of their participation in the six-strike system on their respective websites. The other participating ISPs are AT&T, Cablevision and Time Warner Cable.
ISPs highlight that the average Internet user will likely not have to deal with such copyright alerts. The early warnings aim to scare offenders off from further infringement and piracy. For offenders who persist in their infringing ways, here's what to expect from each participant ISP.
Cablevision's website FAQ notes that if a copyright holder who is part of CCI complains about illegal downloading on Cablevision's network, the company will issue a warning to the infringing user. After five alerts, the customer accused of infringing can challenge the warnings via the American Arbitration Association (AAA). If nothing works out there, Cablevision will suspend Internet access for 24 hours unless the customer calls the number provided on the notice. Customers must pay a fee to file that appeal, but Cablevision will refund the cost in case the customer wins.
Verizon's website states that offenders will first receive email and recorded voicemail alerts. If the company receives more than two complaints about a customer's illegal practices, Verizon will send alerts via website pop-ups that require the user to click to acknowledge they got the warning. If Verizon gets five complaints, it will proceed to alert users that they must either challenge the alerts or face two days of Internet speeds of roughly 256 Kbps. The speed slowdown will last for three days for the sixth alert. The company will provide users with a two-week notice before meddling with Internet speeds.
In a note on its website, Comcast said customers will first receive two educational, browser-based and email notices. For the second offence, customers have to log in with a Comcast account to acknowledge and dismiss the in-browser alert. For the third and fourth warnings, meanwhile, Comcast will issue warnings in a "more pronounced and urgent" manner. Customers who get to the fifth warning will have a two-week window to submit a challenge to the AAA. If the association does nothing, Comcast will set a persistent, in-browser alert a customer can remove only by calling the company.
AT&T will also provide alerts to customers suspected of illegal downloading, the ISP said in a statement to Engadget. After four alerts, customers will not be able to access the Internet normally unless they review educational material online.
Time Warner Cable
A spokesman for the company told PCMag that customers suspected of downloading illegal content will receive an email notification after the first two strikes. Those emails will reportedly teach customers how to download content legally and how to contact their ISP if they believe the email was sent in error. If users ignore those emails and continue their illegal downloading practices, they will eventually reach a TWC landing page when opening their browser. Unless customers acknowledge seeing the warning and agree not to engage in any illegal activity, they will not be able to surf the Web. Customers may also see a pop-up when trying to sign in online. That pop-up displays the phone number customers can call to restore Web access. TWC will set the clock back to zero for customers who don't infringe for six months, i.e. it will start sending emails for first offenses. The company does not have an exact date for turning on this system, but it should be anytime now.
In conclusion, infringing customers will receive warnings to adjust their behavior. If they receive several alerts and they still continue with their practices, their Internet connection will get significantly slower. Customers accused of infringing can file an appeal for $35. The new CCI video explaining the process is available at this link, and the new promo video is available here.
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