It Gets Even Crazier: AT&T, Comcast, And Other ISPs Introduce The “Three Strikes” Internet Censorship Deal
Posted June 28, 2011on:
Completely over the top, even compared to everything else we’re up against: Entertainment industry sources are leaking that they’ve convinced Internet service providers to start restricting people’s web access. If you’re accused of downloading or streaming three files they’ll consider messing with your Internet connection — and maybe even decide what sites you’re allowed to visit.
The MPAA and RIAA have convinced companies like Comcast, AT&T, and others to voluntarily create a “Three Strikes” policy — yes, that’s really what they are calling it. CNET reports that your Internet service provider will respond to online file sharing with censorship tools like:
“Throttling down” your Internet bandwidth and speed;
Limiting your access to the Web;
Controlling what websites you are allowed to visit;
And requiring you to attend pirate school to be educated on copyright law.
Will you act now to fight this new ridiculous proposal? If you sign the petition at right, we’ll automatically generate an email under your name and address to the lobbyists for Comcast and AT&T — including former Republican Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott — containing this language:
NOTE TO AT&T AND COMCAST: Sources are reporting that you are preparing to implement a “Three Strikes” proposal to restrict users’ Internet access. As a customer who cares deeply about Internet freedom I urge you to oppose Internet censorship and reject this proposal.
Just sign on at right and we’ll send an email to the head honchos at AT&T and Comcast.
Top ISPs poised to adopt graduated response to piracy
Some of the country’s largest Internet service providers are poised to leap into the antipiracy fight in a significant way.
After years of negotiations, a group of bandwidth providers that includes AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon are closer than ever to striking a deal with media and entertainment companies that would call for them to establish new and tougher punishments for customers who refuse to stop using their networks to pirate films, music and other intellectual property, multiple sources told CNET.
The proposal appears to have the potential to become one of the most potent antipiracy strategies ever implemented. The ISPs involved provide Internet access to a large percentage of the U.S. population and because they are among the Web’s most important gatekeepers, the network providers are in a unique position to act as copyright enforcers. Critics have argued that a graduated response doesn’t allow for due process. They reject the notion that an ISP should penalize a customer based solely on accusations made by copyright owners.
White House helps shepherd deal
But enlisting the assistance of some of the top ISPs represents a major victory for the film and music industries and certainly, they had plenty of help. For starters, the National Cable and Telecommunications Association has been involved in brokering the deal, the sources said. Some of the NCTA’s members include Time Warner Cable, CableVision, Charter Communications, Comcast, and Qwest Communications, although not all members are participating in the agreement with the media companies, according to the sources.
Spokespeople for the NCTA, RIAA, and MPAA declined to comment. Representatives from some of the known participating ISPs, such as AT&T and Comcast, couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.
In addition to the NCTA, the White House was also instrumental in encouraging the parties to reach an agreement, the sources confirmed. President Obama has said intellectual property is important to the country’s economy and has vowed to step up the fight against piracy and counterfeiting. His administration has lobbied Congress the past several years to pass new pro-copyright legislation while instructing federal law enforcement to make antipiracy a priority.
In recent months, the U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency has seized domain names from dozens of sites accused of trafficking in pirated content or counterfeit goods. In the U.S. Senate, lawmakers are expected to pass legislation that would enable the government to block U.S. Internet users from accessing alleged pirates sites based overseas.
When it comes to the proposed agreement on graduated response, the term was sometimes referred to as a three-strikes plan. The sources who spoke to CNET said this isn’t an accurate description of what the latest plan calls for, as an ISP gets to choose how many times to notify a customer before interrupting service.
Sources in the music and film sectors said that their antipiracy measures, coupled with the emergence of popular legal services, such as Netflix and Amazon, which provide inexpensive content that is also easy to access, has put them in the best possible position to compete with Web piracy.