Are you a Mediacom subscriber? Do you use file sharing services to obtain content? If so, you may want to switch to a different provider. The ISP's new three-strike system is absurdly anti-consumer.
Mediacom is a very large ISP. They mostly serve small towns and cities throughout the U.S., however, so they don't get as much media play as Time Warner Cable or Comcast. They're going to start getting a lot of media coverage today after revealing their new three-strikes policy in dealing with file sharers.
According to TorrentFreak, Mediacom is going to start cracking down on those accused of file sharing. Considering that many right owners send out DMCA notices without even thinking, this could prove to be very bad for Mediacom subscribers.
Here's how it all go down: The first strike will result in Mediacom sending the subscriber a warning and flagging their account. The second strike will result in an account suspension. The dirty pirate will then have to fill out some paperwork to get their service reinstated. The third strike will result in their service being cancelled and the subscriber will be banned from Mediacom services for life.
The U.S. is working with major ISPs on a similar six-strike program. It's nowhere near as bad as the plan that Mediacom will be putting into action. Under the six-strike program, the worst any ISP can do is throttle your Internet.
Regardless, Mediacom's actions prove that ISPs can, and will, take matters into their own hands. It's absolutely ridiculous that they would threaten to ban Internet users for life, but it's wholly within their power to do so at this point in time. It would take somebody from within government telling them the practice is anti-consumer for them to change course.
Of course, users could leave Mediacom for another ISP (if they can) to show their disapproval of the new plan. Piracy is an issue, but punishing users isn't going to stop the practice. If ISPs and rights owners actually cared about consumers, they would realize that offering competitive and more convenient services would curtail piracy in a major way. Until pigs fly, we'll just have to deal with more hackneyed plans to stop piracy.