Internet service providers are set to start clamping down on illegal file sharing this summer, according to the head of the RIAA. Speaking at the annual meating of the Association of American Publishers, RIAA CEO Cary Sherman said that ISPs that are partcipating in the program will begin implementing their new policies by July 12th.
The new policy was unveiled last year when AT&T, Comcast, Time Warner, and other ISPs announced their participation in a new "graduated response" program for dealing with illegal file sharing. Under the program those caught downloading would receive a series of escalating warnings. The first notices are "education," informing users that downloading copyrighted material without paying for it is illegal, and warning of negative consequences to come. After these education notices come confirmation notices, where the customer is required to acknowledge receipt of the warnings. If the customer continues downloading, ISPs have a range of "mitigation measures" available to discourage or prevent future file sharing. Such measures include connection throttling and suspension of access.
According to CNet, ISPs who will implement the "graduated response" measures include Cablevision, Time Warner, Comcast, and others. Sherman says that participating ISPs should have their policies in place by July 12th. Each ISP will be responsible for establishing a system for catching downloaders and keeping track of their offenses. The number of warnings at each level is also at the ISPs' discretion, as is the specific nature of the consequences. No participating ISP has agreed to cut off a customer's internet service permanently.
All things considered, this graduated response method is a far more reasonable measure than the ill-conceived and ill-fated SOPA and PIPA laws that effectively died in Congress earlier this year after massive protests.
What do you think of this "graduated response" policy? Will it actually curb file sharing? Should ISPs be in charge of policing what people do on the internet? Let us know in the comments.