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by adam mathes
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Six Strikes Is Insane

Most of the media coverage of the new Six Strikes policy by the major US ISPs has been fairly muted.

And, of course, the major news media can’t really cover it properly due to their entanglement with these ISPs, which are all giant telecommunications companies, and are often owned by the same content owners that are backing these plans.

I think they are failing express that Six Strikes is nuts. Completely insane. Batshit crazy.

If anything else we think of as a utility tried to pull this, there would be government intervention and public outcry immediately. (And the media wouldn’t cover it in a “balanced” way.)

For more background, see The Copyright Alert System: How the New “Six Strikes” Anti-Piracy Program Works

But basically, the RIAA/MPAA will pay some company to snoop on bittorrent downloads they believe are infringing on the rights of RIAA/MPAA members. They will collect those IP addresses.

Rather than suing and getting a court order to subpoena the ISP, they are going to give the IP addresses to the ISP directly. The ISP will then harass the customer, tell them they are doing something illegal (even though they may not be! these systems are notoriously full of false positives) and after a few repeated notices will throttle their internet service.

After that, it’s not clear what (if any) legal actions may be taken, or if this information will be used in court.

You can apparently “contest” your punishment by paying for arbitration (outside the legal system, of course.)

To try and understand how insane this is, here are a few things that might be similar with other utilities.

Water

A local for-profit pool has been paying private investigators to look around the neighborhood for violations of a local ordinance about pool business regulation.

Unbeknownst to you, he took photos or your last outdoor party, where there were 10 people in your backyard, and alleges you are running an illegal unregulated pool because of the spa in your backyard and the number of guests.

The local pool gives this information to your local water utility, who sends you a letter about the dangers of unregulated pools, and letting you know your water usage is now throttled.

Hope you don’t need to shower!

Electricity

You recently ordered a copy machine for your home business, along with a number of popular business books.

Unbeknownst to you, the publisher of those business books has paid a private investigator to observe what packages are delivered to your house, and has “evidence” you are using this copy machine to run an illegal book piracy operation in your basement based on your fair-use copying a few pages to give to your staff.

Rather than suing you, they have sent a letter to your local electric company, which has decided to send you a letter about the dangers of book piracy, and throttled your electricity.

Hope you didn’t need that to run your computers and business!

Will This Last

My theory is after a few Congressman and Senators get these letters from Comcast because their children downloaded an episode of television over bittorrent, we will see some hearings.

How the ISPs think they can do this and somehow keep their status as common carriers is beyond me.

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