The entertainment industry and ISP joint "Copyright Alert System" (aka "six strikes) has had absolutely no impact on piracy statistics, judging from a preliminary look at popular BitTorrent website traffic levels. The six strikes program was launched back in February
with the cooperation of major ISPs including AT&T, Verizon, Comcast and Time Warner Cable.
The new system includes copyright infringement penalties imposed that vary by ISP, ranging from temporarily blocking Internet access until the user acknowledges the receipt of "educational" material
to throttling a user's connection
for a limited amount of time.
Some seven months in to the program, and its impact on piracy levels appears to be nonexistent. Torrent Freak
notes that BitTorrent traffic coming from U.S. users has remained unchanged for operations like ExtraTorrent, and that traffic headed to the Pirate Bay is up significantly (with a large spike just after the program was announced).
There's several reasons for the plans ineffectiveness. The biggest being that nearly any copyright infringer with a modicum of technical savvy simply used BitTorrent proxy and VPN services to hide their BitTorrent usage from the prying eyes of their ISPs.
Another issue is that many realize the plan really has no teeth, as once a user has proceeded through all of the levels of warnings -- absolutely nothing happens
. There's no "end game" to the system -- the warnings simply stop and the user is allowed to continue trading copyrighted files without interruption.
Two employees of major ISPs familiar with the implementation of the plan tell me ISPs realized up front that the program wouldn't do much, and that most users would simply hide their behavior using VPNs and proxies. However, the entertainment industry believed that fear of punishment would at least put a dent in piracy stats. While we obviously need more data, at first glimpse this doesn't appear to be happening.
It begs the question what's going to be next in the entertainment industry's war on piracy. It seems inevitable that for numerous reasons proxy services and VPNs will become an inevitable target, and if we're to follow the trend overseas, the shift has migrated toward levying fines against repeat offenders