Last summer major ISPs including Comcast, AT&T, Verizon and Cablevision signed off on a new plan by the RIAA and MPAA
taking aim at copyright infringers on their networks. According to the plan, after four warnings ISPs are to begin taking "mitigation measures," which range from throttling a user connection to filtering access to websites until users acknowledge receipt of "educational material." As you might expect, that educational material's chapter on fair use rights likely won't exist.
The plan, as with most plans of this type, was hashed out privately with the government's help -- but with no consumer or independent expert insight. As a result groups like the EFF say the plan has massive problems
, like relying on the IP address as proof of guilt, placing the burden of proof on the consumer, while forcing users to pay a $35 fee if they'd like to try and protest their innocence.
While it has taken some time, it now appears that the project is poised to officially begin July 1
. According to RIAA boss Cary Sherman, most of the involved ISPs are ready to implement their piracy counter-attack this weekend, though different ISPs will again take different approaches in handling "repeat offenders":
"Each ISP has to develop their infrastructure for automating the system," Sherman said. They need this "for establishing the database so they can keep track of repeat infringers, so they know that this is the first notice or the third notice. Every ISP has to do it differently depending on the architecture of its particular network. Some are nearing completion and others are a little further from completion."
Granted the lion's share of pirates will simply switch to VPNs and proxies, with the end result being no real dent on piracy -- but even higher broadband rates as ISPs pass on the cost of these countermeasures to all consumers -- pirates or not.