Verizon Will Start Throttling The Internet Of Accused Pirates Soon

IT Management

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It's been a while since we've heard anything about the six strikes anti-piracy program being put into place by ISPs across the U.S. The last news that came out of the CCI said that the program was delayed until early 2013 for some last minute problems caused by Hurricane Sandy. We don't know when exactly the program will go into place, but some new information on the program itself has leaked out.

TorrentFreak reports that Verizon's Copyright Alert Program has been leaked, and the document details what the ISP for each tier of alerts. It was previously reported that Verizon would throttle speeds on the fifth and sixth alert, but the new leaked document is a bit more specific on what that means. Spoiler: Hope you pirates like dial-up speeds.

Before getting to that, let's take a look at what pirates can expect on the first and second copyright alert they receive from Verizon. For these first two alerts, Verizon will either send you an email or call you to tell you that a copyright owner believes you are a dirty pirate. From there, they will provide info on how to locate, and remove, file sharing software from your computer as well as provide a list of legal alternatives to piracy.

By the sounds of it, the first two alerts aren't that bad. They're a little annoying, but nothing to get angry about it. Now the third and fourth alerts are where things start to get annoying. Upon being alerted that your a dirty pirate, the ISP will redirect your browser to a "special Web page" in which you must acknowledge receiving the alert. You will also have to sit through a presumably boring film on copyright law and infringement.

How can it get more annoying than PSAs? On the fifth and sixth alert, you will be given three options: one, you must agree to an immediate reduction in Internet speed to 256kbps for two days; or two, you must agree to the same reduction, but it can be delayed for up to 14 days. If you're feeling really lucky, you can also appeal the the validity of the alerts to the AAA who will decide if the copyright owners were wrong in sending you the alerts. This process will cost you $35, and will only be refunded if you win.

In what may be even worse, it was confirmed by TorrentFreak that ISPs will be sending out copyright alerts to businesses. How many people do you think pirate content on public Wi-Fi networks provided by restaurants or cafes on any given day? A business could receive six alerts in one day and have their complimentary Wi-Fi slowed to a crawl. At that point, you're not even punishing pirates anymore - you're punishing everybody, including the businesses.

In short, the Copyright Alert Program is probably going to anger more people than it will convert them to law abiding citizens who buy all their music from Amazon. Of course, the intention of the program is not to convert dedicated pirates, but the casual music listener who might pirate a few songs here and there. The first alert might scare them into being a good little boy or girl, but I just don't see it working all that well.

Also, I have to ask - whatever happened to this program being pro-consumer? CCI Director Jill Lesser has repeatedly stated that the intention of the CAP is not to punish the consumer, but rather educate. I think having speed dropped down to what constituted a regular Internet speed in 1995 to be a little extreme. Sure, you can delay the throttling, but it's still going to happen across your entire connection. If Verizon and the CCI wanted to cultivate a little goodwill, they would only throttle P2P traffic. It's possible, and some ISPs already do it. Throttling the entire connection is asinine and does little to educate the consumer, it only serves to grow resentment among the consumers they claim to care about so much.

In all honesty, I see the CAP not lasting very long. It's not as extreme as when the RIAA was suing people left and right, but I feel the public outcry is going to be similar. Piracy is a problem, and one that does need to be solved. Throttling speeds and punishing the very consumers that ensure the survival of copyright owners isn't going to solve it.