United States ISPs have agreed to a “six strike” program to deal with online copyright infringement. Companies in the deal include AT&T, Cablevision, Time Warner Cable, Comcast and Verizon. Ars Technica reports that the warning system operates solely between the ISP and the subscriber, and that ISPs will only release guilty subscribers’ information with a court order.
The agreement is, according to the press release, intended to “educate and stop the alleged content theft in question, not to punish.” The education comes in the form of alerts that notify potential pirates of their copyright infringement, none of which involve real legal action. There is no threat of complete disconnection, and the agreement promises that services like email and home security will always be available despite a user’s piracy warnings.
The first two warnings are just “educational” notices about piracy. The third and fourth warnings require the user the user to acknowledge receipt of the warnings. The fifth and sixth warnings involve “mitigation measures” that act as ISP-enforced punishments for the users’ piracy.