Details Of Various Six Strikes Plans Revealed; May Create Serious Problems For Free WiFi

from the the-death-of-free-wifi dept

Ah, unintended consequences. TorrentFreak has been doing a fantastic job sussing out the details of how various ISPs are going to implement the infamous “six strikes” plan. Earlier, it had found that AT&T’s plan was to block access to frequently visited websites, while the fourth strike will include redirections to “educational material.”

Time Warner Cable, for its part, has said that it will direct users to a landing page, effectively interrupting your ability to surf the web without it being crazy annoying. The latest is the discovery of the details of Verizon’s plan, which will involve reducing speeds of the connection to a slow poke speed of 256kbps. I don’t know if you’ve tried surfing the web at 256kbps lately, but it’s ridiculously frustrating, because pages are optimized for much higher speeds:
Comcast and Cablevision (the two other participants) haven’t leaked out any details yet, but you have to imagine that the situations would be similar. One thing to note, this isn’t really a “six strikes” plan at all. AT&T’s more draconian actions appear to kick in after the 4th notice. Verizon’s kick in after the 5th notice. I know it’s been popular to call it a “six strikes” plan, but our initial read suggested that it was really more of a five strikes plan, since mitigation factors were supposed to start after five. It’s interesting to see that AT&T seems to want to push that even further.

All of the ISPs, of course, will say that they’re not “cutting people off” from the internet, though they are making connections barely usable. Especially troubling is that, as TorrentFreak reveals in the latest post on this, at least Verizon’s responses will apply to businesses as well. So that cafe down the street that has free WiFi… may quickly be throttled down to 256kbps. That will likely mean a lot less free WiFi out there, which is a significant and worrisome consequence of this program.

All of these programs seem focused on driving people to “educational content” about copyright infringement. It will be quite fascinating to see what kind of educational content is provided. We’ve seen in the past that most such attempts are really bad and one-sided. Even YouTube’s “copyright school” is ridiculously one-sided and perpetuates myths about copyright, and suggests that fair use is too complex for you to even bother trying to understand.

Also, as the strikes get higher, there are two things to be aware of: ISPs are then more likely to hand over info to the copyright holders, meaning that it could still lead to copyright holders directly suing. That is, the “mitigation” factors are not, in any way, the sum total of the possible consequences for those accused. On top of that, we still fully expect that at least some copyright holders are planning to insist that ISPs who are aware of subscribers with multiple “strikes” are required under law to terminate their accounts. At least the RIAA has indicated that this is its interpretation of the DMCA’s clause that requires service providers to have a “termination policy” for “repeat infringers.” So it’s quite likely that even if the ISPs have no official plan to kick people off the internet entirely under the plan, some copyright holders will still push for exactly that kind of end result.

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Companies: at&t, time warner cable, verizon

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Comments on “Details Of Various Six Strikes Plans Revealed; May Create Serious Problems For Free WiFi”

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-eK (user link) says:

Re: To All

It’s about damn time they started doing this, like everyone else it seems, I was under the impression this was legal for home. However, one I figured out that it is actually Illegal, I quitdoing it!!!!
This is only an assumtption, however, I am afriaid that I am correct; unlike most greedy self centered folk around today, I actually have these long forgotten set of “morals”, “eithics” and”values”, pretty sure a lot of you should look these words up, and actually understand what they mean, and if you’re not too far lost into self-centricity you may actually understand WHY people who put their hard work and time into their JOBS only to be dicked (intentionally or as it seems to me, mostly unintentionally) out of their EARNED Income.
This is, after all, how Celebrities make a living. Yes, they may be Famous and Rich (although there will be some point where even THEY can not afford to live, because at some time, if this continues unabated, IMO anyway, essentially at they will ALL just become Volunteers!
I absolutely do agree with the fact that Copywite Laws as written, due soley to the advent of Technology, are Archaic and nearly impossible to uniformly apply; they were written more to prevent Plagirism rather than monetary THEFT; these Laws should NOT be changed, but, in fact added to, at the very least to end the confusion and to once again protect the rights of Artists, and I use this term Boldly; as a Software Developer is today just as much of an Artist as a Writer is/was when these Laws were written.
As stated in the article; it is almsot impossible to determine if you are violating Copywrite Law, even with reaearch, for the reasons stated quite well in the above Article.
Add to the confusion, the wordings of the current Laws and the fact the again, IMO, most of the Isers of these services are more than likekely, unaware infact; that while using a Torrent Client is not Illegal, the content available through said Client may infact be “Protected” by Law.
Torrents sites also have much to do with the confsusion; as the Author nicely explained, by “buying a premium subscription” it is almost, while not(YOU have to read all the words in the Agreement not just the ones you are looking for!)implying that by doing so, infact you are, as everyone keeps saying “protected”, which I am sure most everyone assumes to mean: that by paying for the “Service”, this translates into “giving the Artists their owed payment for their WORK”; but, like explained againg perfectly by the Author, are in reality, only funding the Torrent Client’s functionabillity and lining some Web Debelopers Pockets.
I will however, add: the matter is further distored by the fact that at the bottom of some/most(if not all at this point; (has been awhile since I have checked, and will be never until I can verify), as I refuse to support these site even by providing them with AD Funding by creating a “hit” on said Websites, which in turn triggers a small payment to the Devloper of the Website for “Product Promotion Services”(if you are reading this for the correct reasons, keep that in mind as well)”Torrent Search Engines” actually show at the bottom of your Query(search results list) that “X ammount of content was removed due to MPAA
Violations (insert statute # here)”, which only means that someone caught them distributing THEIR work.
Hence the removal. In fact that statement, if interpreted correctly, means in reality “hey we got caught illegally providing Media to you and had stop until we can figure out how to not get caught again”. While the way it is worded and presented to users makes this an almost impossible interpretaion to reach without Legal Knowladge or Research, large ammounts it seems(which is how I found this Article).

Add to that: Laws are generally Vaguly written, intentionally(to allow JUDGES and JURRIES to independently and onjectively interpret the meaning of said law; therefore providing PROTECTION against Directed Legislation and in keeping with our Constitution (USA) The word of Law/Satutes as such is intended to be a form of a type of “Check/Balance” to prevent Laws from becoming one sided, biased or infact even “Illegal”(unconstitutional) in nature! NOT for the reason that I am assuming these “removals” are posted; false reassurenent ans feed, providing false “proof” that their service actually follows and endoforces CW Laws.
Why would they? They would lose “hits” and therefore Money…you get the picture thus far I am sure of this.
The fact that ISPs are giving their Users “Strikes”, in reality shows that yes, CW laws are very hard to interpert, but, that they should be evaluated by the User=”YOU”; again, proof of this is actually in the Documents everyone is pissed about!
Anyone every heard the old phrase “Three Strikes, Your Out”? It actually refers to the Law, not Baseball. As in, you are allowed to commit Two non-major, non-violent and in most cases this principal may be applied(ie: each diffrent TYPE of fellony you can commit twice, in most cases) and walk away with basically a slap on the wirst in comparision to the actual severity of the Crime.
This was done for Two reasons; First and foremost, as a chance for decent people who simply made a mistake, have a mental issue, or are willing to, to NOT do “it” again, the fact that you get TWO chances, at least, before they throw your ass in jail is honestly a gift; as one “Strike” should be enough to get the point across!
Fact of the matter is, you already get your “Three Stikes” from your ISPs, plus, they have gone ABOVE and BEYOND on the Fourth infration(aka Violation of The Law)by providing ACTUAL Education as to CW Laws and what exactly they are, mean, cover, were created for, and how to Violate and NOT Violate said laws, again remember this the Fourth time you have gotten caught breaking the law…ONLY because they and the judicial system undstand that, due to the fact that CW Laws ARE out of date AND confusing, even to Lawmakers at this point, I feel is the rationale behind their idea! Add to that the fact you get Two MORE chances after you have been correctly informed of the Law(s) and CONTINUE to break them, even then, they only allow themselves the OPTION of reporting you; not to the Authorities(depending on WTF you download anyway)but, rather than to the actual OWNERS of the products you have stollen, and even then, IT IS UP TO THE OWNERS of the work if you end up in court for Violations reported.
Peronally, I think if you are on this site reading this, unless you actually are moral and understand that there are REAL PEOPLE in this world besides yourself, or are just curious or unsure about the Laws, YOU ALREADY know what you are doing is wrong at the very least, and based on the amount of posts regarding how to “hide” using VPNs, so on so forth, coupled with the FACT that if you have already recieved a warning(mind you a warning is a warning), you not only already KNOW it’s wrong, but you already KNOW IT’S ILLEGAL!!!!
Add on to the fact that not only are you KNOWINGLY(as evidenced by this thread itself) breaking the law you “don’t understand”, you are ACTUALLY trying to “get away with it” and in reality all you are doing is adding to the list of possible Civil Actions that could be taken against you, and NOW you are actually commiting “real” crimes, yeah, ones with out the confusion of CW Laws: Conspiricy to commit Larsony(Grand Larsony, depending on what/how much you are at this point KNOWINGLY stealing), electronic theft, ID theft(by using Onion or such, because you are in reality actually only being routed through OTHER’s Servers, you are “stealing/paying some else to steal for you” the ID of the User of that server, Electronic Fraud(because you are trying to convince your ISP or whoever you think can’t figure out who or where you really are(WRONG in your assumption again and a good thing for many reasons), Interfering with a Civil/Criminal investigation you got your warnings, right?), and even the possiblility of some off the wall, but yet enforcable charges, depending on what is on the server/terminal you are “hiding though” therfore claiming to own(content included) even though you have no way of knowing what is on said server(however, still your responsiblity because you, after being made aware of the fact the “they know” you STILL continue to use!!!! How about STOP and don’t worry about it!!!! Seems like the right course of action to follow if you, like myself and many others have, once they finally figure out that it IS illegal; or/and in my case anyway, put youself in the Artists shoes.
For the record I am a Musician and would gladly and have GIVEN my work to people, because in my case, it’s not a JOB!!!! For most Artists however, their WORK(s) are their income…ever wonder why so many Celebrities are having to file for Bankrupcy or having to downgrade their EARNED lifestyle?!

I was told by someone, who I refuse to name(due to the fact that they are someone who has been in the Production/Preformance of the Recodered Arts for over 20 years and I’m sure would not appriciate a bunch hate mail from those they have watched DESTROY the Music Industry) when trying to starting a Recording Studio, “Before you waste your time, just remember, now a days, this is an act of love, not a career or way to support your family.”
-This is why i didn’t: I don’t need to eat out of a trash can, as well as my Artists after busting our asses to provide everyone with apparently Free HARD WORK and TIME and not to mention the money alone it takes to record, mix, produce, master. render. re-master, brand/promote and release an album, even for a well established Artist.
Just incase anyone is unaware; Musicians DO NOT make a living, or even close to, through Album sales and haven’t since Napster, it is all done through touring, which takes even Harder work and even more Time and can/has ruin their Relationships with their Families and caused Artist Suicides!!!!
Good thing is, no one has been able to figure out how to en-mass STEAL concert tickets or Authorized Merch yet(ok yeah, everyone knows how to steal a T-Shirt, but, Psychologically speaking, the vast majority WILL NOT steal Merch while at an Event for that Aritist. Reason being; a little thing called GUILT(also, the reason this thread is up; people looking for a justification to ROB Artists of their hard EARNED wages.).
Since it seems like everyone has become so self-entitled and so closed minded I have to drive my point home on an actual One to One Level(meaning if it doesn’t directly effect YOU, you/we don’t care or try to)…here goes, best I can do based on my profiling of almost everyone’s post(mind you I don’t or most likely don’t know you, if this is incorrect as applied to YOU(one, an individual, not the mass of posters; I am sorry if you are offended by my comments.) However if you are not offended my comments, you don’t fall into that group, so please, don’t try to convince yourself that you are offended if you really arn’t…what you would be doing is, again Psychologically Speaking, called “Deflection” this happens alot when people know they are wrong and when confronted with the fact that they are, the response is always either (false)offense to statements, anger at person making them, extreme defensivness, denial, and assumpton that the person making the statement is wrong; how do you think your parents knew you were lying as a kid?

Best way to One to One this on the internent is, and this applies to ALL of us, myself included: Imagine one day, YOU come up with amazing idea for a product/idea and have no idea how to create/market it. So, you enlist the help of an “Invention Submission Company”, without having your idea Copywritten as Intellectual Property first…Two, Three months go by and you hear nothing about your submission, assume it was not that good of an idea, brush it off and eventually stop thinking about it; jump ahead One Year; bored, broke and wondering how you are going to make it until whatever type of Check you are waiting for arrives, and you just happen to see YOUR INVENTION on TV for sale at $20 a unit, you absolutely are going to be pissed and immediatly try to figure out how to sue wherever your submitted your idea to…problem is, you can’t or atleast not so and win, because in reality, YOU(because the idea was never Capywritten as your, you gave it to the Company, and most likely paid to do so, YOU, IN THIS CASE ANYWAY have no right to ANY compensation for your idea, beacuse, YOU GAVE IT TO THEM!!!!

Now, HERE IS THE IMPORTAINT PART: take same feelings you have about not getting paid for “YOUR” theoretical idea, which in reality stopped being yours once you sent it some where w/o it being copywritten, apply those feelings to Artists; who do, have and will continue to Copywite their work(“ideas”)to make sure this doesn’t happen to them, hence the reason for their anger, you ARE robbing them!!!!
Just be thankful, most Artists are also the type of people who for the most part wouldn’t even mind if you downloaded their Work, except for the fact that they put THEIR time, effort and money into creating that FOR YOU. I think it would be appropriate to Pay them for their Work just as you Pay the Chef at a nice place to eat, by simply paying the Bill your Server leaves you.

I am right along aside everyone in the fact that, no, I don’t own a CD player, and yes, electronic storage or enjoyment of Music IS the new way of things, however this does NOT make it free or OK to steal it.
Personally, I hate iTunes and refuse to use that service to PAY for the music I listen to and enjoy on a daily basis, not because of the Price, but because of limited content. I chose to use Spotify Premium to PAY the Artists and Discover more to either PAY by listening to their Tracks(this is done automatically w/no extra charge) or to figure out I’m not so into(keep in mind, that Artist still was paid royalties for me listening to their track even though I didn’t do anything other than listen) I can stream and sync music to mulitiple devices, I can, as long as I continue to pay the $10 a month for the Premium service, use the service Offline also!!!! If Sportify,
if not your taste,
pick one there are many other providers like them and all only cost around $10 a month for UNLIMITED service, assured quality, all while PAYING THE ARTISTS ROYALTIES THEY ARE OWED…how muc do those VPN and Hide me this and cover my ass Services cost a month? Most likely more than $10!
They even have the same Services for Movies, TV Shows, Games and anything elae you could, before now, justify to yourself to STEAL, it just takes more effort than clicking the “Steal”, sorry “Magnet” link on a Torrent site, but, I’m pretty sure you all can handle it…remember everyone there was a point in time when Technology didn’t exist and humans had to put forth thought and effort into problem sovling, I have faith we can ALL handle it again!

Remember: Creating any type of Art(music, images, movies. books, media of anytype infact; takes SKILL, which is why YOU are not an Artist, just a common criminal, depriving Hard working Artists of their livelyhood, that’s all, no biggie…right? I’m sure you would be fine if you went to Work for Two Weeks and your Paycheck never came, wouldn’t bother you, you would just let it go AND rightnback to work the next day, then knowing, you may never get paid for what you are doing, I know damn well I would NOT be OK with that, and if you think/claim you would, I won’t call Bullshit, but, I will ask you to try this: take the next Check you get and BURN IT! Now, if you are OK with doing that, by all means Download away, as you are onveously a liar(but, yet still a theif.) If you are NOT OK with that concept, get away from your Computer, remove head from Ass,
and re-evaluate your way if thinking, because in that case you are not only a theif, but also, a hippocrate and a liar to boot!

****PS: If you still it’s OK, legal or “cool”, or worse yet; that you “arn’t hurting anyone so even it’s Illegal, I don’t care”; just ponder this, the day Paul Walker passed away, his Studio Announced the release of a F+F6 Special Edition of which most, if not all of the proceeds(money people spent to BUY the Movie)would go to either Paul’s Family or to his many Charities, right…yes! OK, here is the one thing, if any, from what I have said you taken in…just think about this for a Second then ask; how many people downloaded that “Special Edition”?
Yes, unfortunatly Paul Walker is gone, someone who I’m sure you claimed to like and were sooooo saddened by his passing. But, how many of you actually supported his family and charity work (by BUYING the Film)something he was more passionate about than Acting or even Cars(which is saying a lot, unless you knew the REAL Man he was)and how many of you just decided to Download the “Special”,
and I only quote the word Special here because it was and is…For once a Production Studio has found it in their hearts to Donate their Time, Efforts and Money(porential imcome earned from LEGITIMATE sales), did you?
I admit, I had never seen the film and of course my buddy downloaded it right away, again blown away by Bro’s (Paul’s) preformance…but, only because I knew I was going to AND DID(most importaint part)go out the day the Film was officially released and bought Two copies on Blu-Ray, and one on DVD, however, I actually waited to watch it!
Just for the record; I HAD NO JOB AT THE TIME, and have yet to own and most likely will not ever own a Blu-Ray Player, and NO, I did NOT return them, infact I have never even opened them! (Obveously I opened the DVD, just can’t see spending the $ on a Blu-Ray player when I’m half blind anyway). Anyone else consider doing that FOR PAUL, or to contiunue his Legacy of caring and generosity?
I would assume maybe One or Two of you, now out of those Two(me not included), who didn’t Sell/Return(or attempt to)their Copies of the Film????
This statement has nothing to do with me thinking that I was/am better in anyway than anyone else for doing that, as we ARE ALL the same!
However, I really would beg of you to think about my words FIRST, before you hit the “Rob This Artist” button ever again.

Thank you for your valuable time,

G Thompson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Expect to see...

So in your words:

“There has never been a period where copyright infringement has been allowed to go completely unpunished.”


“It’s been the law for over a decade. Deal with it.”

The we have ISP’s all of a sudden putting together a process of punishment after having slept (or showed slackness) all this time by NOT doing something that in your opinion the law required them to do.

And, the ISP’s have totally changed their contracts (unilaterally I might add) leaving the other party in a precarious (worse) position.

And laches don’t come into it?

okaaaaaaaayyyyyyy then…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Expect to see...

You gotta read yer TOS; the ISPs have always said “no theft allowed” in them. I think they initially claimed that they’ve always had an infringer policy. Problem is that the DMCA specifies that the policy be “reasonably implemented”. Flash forward 15 years, and all the lawyers are pointing at the traffic data and saying apparently not a thing is being implemented. Bammo, the 6 strikes plan shows up.

CK20XX (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:8

Course, what makes that argument fundamentally flawed is that there’s no proof that piracy is theft in the first place. The people pushing this six strikes program should have done their homework first to determine if the problem they’re addressing is actually a problem, and not only have they failed to do that, but there have been studies popping up saying that online piracy is a benign action that may actually benefit content holders by acting as free advertising.

For a more neutral perspective though, this quote from Paul Tassi, a Forbes contributor, seems to sum up the situation well:

“Piracy is not raiding and plundering Best Buys and FYEs, smashing the windows and running out with the loot. It?s like being placed in a store full of every DVD in existence. There are no employees, no security guards, and when you take a copy of a movie, another one materializes in its place, so you?re not actually taking anything. If you were in such a store, you?d only have your base moral convictions to keep you from cloning every movie in sight. And anyone who knows how to get to this store isn?t going to let their conscience stop them, especially when there is no tangible ?loss? to even feel bad about.”

btrussell (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Expect to see...

Who’s pretending it isn’t happening? I know it is happening. Didn’t you hear about the RIAAs’ “pending” list?

300 000 songs they were profiting off of. MASSIVE.

Do you know anyone or have you heard of anyone downloading 300 000 songs? And selling them?

Fred Fnord says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Expect to see...

You’re wrong, and you clearly haven’t bothered to do the least bit of homework to find out if you’re right. You just assume that you are correct and work from there.

If you had bothered to read the iTunes terms of service (I know, I know, that’s WORK, a concept with which you are clearly unfamiliar) you would know that any song that you buy is licensed to you in perpetuity, and that although the iTunes music store’s terms of service can change, any song which you buy from them under one set of terms is always considered to be licensed under exactly those terms, unless the newer terms are more permissive.

So, for example, if iTunes changed from allowing you to have your songs on three devices to allowing you to have your songs on five devices, then your entire back library is changed to those newer, more permissive terms. But if they were to change the other way, then according to their own terms of service they would be required to implement a solution whereby the music purchased before the terms changed would sync to five devices, and that purchased after would sync to only three.

I was worried about the same thing you are worried about. That’s why I read the ToS and informed myself. And that’s what makes me an informed user, and you a git.

FreeCultureForFreePeople says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Expect to see...

Interesting link… and after some digging about on Google I found what the outcome of that lawsuit was. Instead of facing charges to the tune of anywhere between $50 million and $6 billion, they – surprise – settled out of court, for just $45 million.

You can read the full details here:

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Expect to see...

It’s no different than a traffic ticket. You can plead guilty or have a hearing on the citation.

And the results are likely to be exactly the same as well.

You want to pretend that infringement isn’t happening on a mass scale? And that the vast majority of those cited will indeed have been infringing?

Good luck with that.

G Thompson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Expect to see...

Actually its very much different than a traffic ticket or other type of citation since a ticket/fine/citation can ONLY be imposed by a governmental authority and not by a private party.

This on-the-spot fine also needs to be able to be disputed using all due process (the reasons why you have traffic courts, etc in the USA) and procedural rules.

This process on the other hand is even worse than tribunals where hearsay is allowed since the accused is unable to appeal has the full onus on them to prove that the hearsay (and that is EXACTLY what it is) is correct under any bar of reasoning or proof and that if they arbitrarily have to be punished (emotionally, financially and otherwise) before the fact that anything has been even slightly allowed to go up against an authoritative unbiased party that has a checks and balance procedure in place.

You are basically letting a thrid part civil entity make another third party civil entity police a civil action with no ability for the respondent to equitably confront their accusers.

The rest of the world refers to these things as “star chambers”, and the ways of a despot/authoritarian nation.

G Thompson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Expect to see...

It’s hearsay until it is evidentially authorised by allowing an unbiased outside party to forensically authenticate the means they use of collecting IP address’s.

None of the court cases anywhere in the world have ever been allowed to get to the stage where the so called ‘evidence’ could be challenged, or if it has gotten to the stage where the plaintiff know it is about to be called on it in discovery they have instead immediately dismissed the case. Copyright holder do NOT in any way want this procedure to be analysed forensically since it would show their methods to be unauthenticated unreliable fallacious opinionated crud. ie: hearsay (and third party hearsay at times too).

E G Nyquist (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Expect to see...

Yes, their terms of service permit them to refuse service to any individual, as is the case in any business. So long as this refusal cannot be demonstrated as discriminatory (as per the definition of discrimination in that specific jurisdiction), they are within their legal rights to do so.

However, there are concerns here that are valid and do have legal merit.

One is collusion, which essentially constitutes a conspiracy against the public and attempts to create a punitive legal process that is independent of, and intentionally circumvents, the established civil and criminal legal systems in the US. This is generally not permitted. Antitrust law may come into play here.

Legal rights of customers include protection from defamation. if AT&T hands over the personal details of their customers to a third party absent a court order and without the consent of the customer, along with the assertion that that customer has engaged in unlawful activity, then that could constitute libel. This is especially so in the absence of any evidence specifically linking the individual name associated with the account and any alleged illegal activity.

So while they can cut you off, they are not able to simply do whatever they want, nor does language in their terms of service necessarily indemnify them from wrongdoing.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Expect to see...

“One is collusion, which essentially constitutes a conspiracy against the public and attempts to create a punitive legal process that is independent of, and intentionally circumvents, the established civil and criminal legal systems in the US. This is generally not permitted. Antitrust law may come into play here.”
The law requires them to implement a repeat infringer policy if they want to maintain safe harbor. They’re not colluding, they’re trying to not get sued or put out of business.

As for the libel aspect, I’d once again refer you to TOS that you agree to.

btrussell (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:12 Expect to see...

I have previously for both phone and internet. The time I moved to a new address prior to this time. They insisted on sending me new contracts.

My packages are different. Different data caps. Different charge for going over said cap. Requires a new contract as the terms have changed. It is not the same as what I had previously agreed to.

G Thompson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Expect to see...

Nope not the college fines are not technically fines though they are a form of pecuniary forfeiture due to the contract. And in actual reality they are called mulct’s. (and yes they are as bad as it sounds)

With the emphasis being on a SIGNED contract, that has not been unilaterally changed, is not unconscionable and is not unlawful.

These “fines” are NOT lawful – there is no statute or civil law that allows these fines. They are not only pecuniary either but have other psychological, social, and emotional penalties attached to them.

Oh and as for your private college contract, don’t believe everything that is written in a contract is correct. A prime example would be the underage drinking. That’s a criminal matter and for the college to fine and NOT call the police is basically a form of misprison and therefore absolutely voidable on its face. For the college to call the police but also to fine with or without conviction is a form of double jeopardy and again a voidable term on its face.

And illegal parking comes under trespass rules and to call it illegal again means that police needs to be involved. Though you might find that the college has a contract with the local government (council or similar) where they can fine cars under the auspices of the local government.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Expect to see...

You do understand that irrespective of the legality of the ISPs plan, they are still going to face a lot of heat and very likely litigation for this.

Not only that but liability is a matter of who has the better lawyer, and in some rare cases whoever has the law on their side. It’s also entirely arbitrary, based on whoever happens to be on a powertrip that day.

“OMG you stole a blue-ray i would normally sell for $40! I’m going to sue you for $150 000”

Sounds completely ridiculous, and yet because they pay enough lawyers… they get away with it.

Fred Fnord says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Expect to see...

For the college to call the police but also to fine with or without conviction is a form of double jeopardy and again a voidable term on its face.

Er, what? No, that’s complete crap. As anyone with any knowledge of law should know, double jeopardy only applies to the government doing things. If you, my neighbor, broke my garden gnome in a drunken rampage, and were arrested for trespassing and malicious mischief, that would not stop me from suing you to recover the cost of the gnome. Nor would it stop your landlord from evicting you for being a dick.

It boggles my mind that you are willing to speak with such authority on a matter which you clearly know nothing whatever about.

JMT says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Expect to see...

“You want to pretend that infringement isn’t happening on a mass scale?

Who’s pretending? It’s quite well known. Can you think of any other laws being broken on such a scale? Have you wondered why only copyright is abused on such a scale? Are you intellectually honest enough with yourself to consider maybe it’s a problem with the laws? There’s a long history of laws that are not followed by the public because of a widespread lack of respect for them. Laws that are not respected are practically unenforceable, and need a serious rethink.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Expect to see...

“Can you think of any other laws being broken on such a scale?”

Yes, speed limits.

“Have you wondered why only copyright is abused on such a scale?”

Because people believe they can get away it.

Just like when people speed.
Studies show that when laws like this are strictly enforced- like speed traps for instance, people follow the law and obey the speed limit.

JMT says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Expect to see...

Speeding is both a good and bad example.

It’s good example because speeding is another case where there is serious public doubt that that stated aim (increasing safety) is actually as important to officialdom as the considerable side-benfit (huge revenues).

But it’s a bad example because most “speeders” are only exceeding the speed limit by a nominal amount because they understand the risks of grossly excessive speed, whereas copyright laws are simply ignored by many, many people. It’s not a stretch to say that speed limits have considerably more respect that copyright laws.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Expect to see...

The DMCA does not require that a company follows takedowns, for a start: it says that not processing takedown notices in a timely manner is going to get you into trouble.

Where is the mandate that there’s actually a check made that it isn’t automagically infringing? There is no 100% foolproof way for even the MAFIAA to guarantee that.

Moreover,t he “six strikes” was not implemented in the DMCA, nor was it actually written in to the law, unless you can give a cite that says otherwise.

Moreover, why should the ISPs be forced to make expenditures on what is a civil matter in, like, 99% of all infringement cases? That cost should be borne by those making the assertions.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Expect to see...

You didn’t point out a single lie there. You just started talking to yourself.

It was a simple statement: The DMCA- as in, the law, requires ISPs to implement a repeat infringer policy. Go read Title 17, Section 512. It’s there. The ISPs decided to make their policy a 6 strikes plan.
End of story.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Expect to see...

Here’s the text of the law, because people probably want to see the exact wording.

“The limitations on liability established by this section shall apply to a service provider only if the service provider?
(A) has adopted and reasonably implemented, and informs subscribers and account holders of the service provider?s system or network of, a policy that provides for the termination in appropriate circumstances of subscribers and account holders of the service provider?s system or network who are repeat infringers;”

Well, first off, they aren’t actually required to do any of this, (it’s civil law, not criminal, and they aren’t automatically liable if they ignore it,) but they will, because they want the safe harbor.

I do think the main problem is declaring someone to be a repeat infringer without anything being proven. The way I understand things, someone merely accuses you multiple times of copyright infringement, (and not even in court – just in a note to your ISP) and you can either put up your own money to appeal to a private arbitration company of your ISP’s choice, or get your connection throttled. Shouldn’t the burden be on the other side to prove the infringement FIRST?

I just had another random thought. If infringing content is being passed from one large network to another, are those large networks going to be forced to disconnect from each other? “Someone on the AT&T network infringed 6 times! We have to disconnect AT&T or lose our safe harbor!”

btrussell (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Expect to see...

Imagine if they had to call Mike at techdirt and ask if it was okay for them to transmit the copyrighted data you requested to download this page to be able to read it. Otherwise, it could be infringement.

Maybe you can tell us what data is being sent over the internet that isn’t copyrighted? Also, how much infringement is taking place over their pipes every hour?

G Thompson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Expect to see...

Yep repeat infringer.. But the “Infringer” part is based on a court issued order that the respondent has in actuality infringed!

Therefore after mutliple civil infringements having been proven the ISP has an obligation to enact something. It doesn’t say what that it.

However under contract law a contract cannot be changed unilaterally without the consent of both parties.

Even more so since the ISP’s will claim, “oh the DMCA says we have to” (erroneously – see my point above) the DMCA has been in effect for years and they haven’t enacted it previously so the doctrine of laches will come into effect too.

The ISP’s are basically screwed.

This is another reason why ISP’s in places like Australia are refusing these egregious and unlawful practices of “strikes” which are basically when boiled down a form of “fine” and ONLY a government’s can fine after full and proper due process and procedural fairness.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Expect to see...

the DMCA has been in effect for years and they haven’t enacted it previously so the doctrine of laches will come into effect too.

Ah yes, as I’ve pointed out so many, many, many times in the past: you people made a horrible misjudgment when you assumed lack of enforcement meant the pirates had won the war.

You were wrong.

JMT says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Expect to see...

“Ah yes, as I’ve pointed out so many, many, many times in the past: you people made a horrible misjudgment when you assumed lack of enforcement meant the pirates had won the war.”

I’ve never heard anyone claim that once, let alone “many, many, many times”. When have you claimed this? When has anyone else assumed this? Why do you make this shit up?

Milton Freewater says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Expect to see...

“you people made a horrible misjudgment when you assumed lack of enforcement meant the pirates had won the war.”

This very long thread has nothing to do with “piracy.”

Anti-piracy laws are enforced all the time, were enforced before the Internet, and will be enforced in the future.

Six strikes is not enforcement. It’s an attempt to modify the behavior of people who HAVEN’T been found to be lawbreakers and didn’t intend to break any reasonable law. It is not directed by its implementers at “pirates.”

“CCI head Jill Lesser responded that the goal isn’t to stop “serial pirates” trying to avoid IP laws. Rather, it’s to educate “the vast majority of the people for whom trading in copyrighted material has become a social norm, over many years.”

Both the content company participants and the ISPs emphasized that “education” is the goal, rather than lawsuits. “This is not about suing users at all,” said Ron Wheeler, a senior VP at Fox Broadcasting who was on the panel. “This system is not designed to produce lawsuits?it’s designed to produce education.””

N_Mailer says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Expect to see...

“you people made a horrible misjudgment when you assumed lack of enforcement meant the pirates had won the war.”

We certainly made a horrible misjudgment when we assumed lack of an enforceable law meant that rightsholders would abide by that lack of law.

You make several horrible misjudgments when you assume that we care about “pirates” trying to “win a war.”

Never has a troll or shill looked more out of place than they do in a six strikes discussion. All the old baits and buzzwords look retarded, like you posted on the wrong thread.

“Pirates” are no longer the issue – “six strikes” does not address legally defined piracy in any of its steps. The word “distribution” does not appear once.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Expect to see...

Expect to see…
A bunch of class action lawsuits against the ISPs over this. When you pay for a service (especially under contract) and the company fails to provide that service they breach the contract.

They will make sure this stuff is in the contract. They may not be good at internet service, but I think they’re pretty good at contract law. After all, that’s a more important part of their business as long as they don’t have competition.

MrWilson says:

I just got arrested yesterday because Ford reported to the cops that I drove my car to a neighborhood known for drug dealing. The cops didn’t care that Ford had no proof that I was the one driving the car or that I actually did purchase and/or use drugs. They’re not even bothering with a jury trial either. The fourth time I drove there, they made my car drive really slow, so now I’m always late for work. The next time they just suspended my license completely.

Samantha Atkins says:

Re: Re:

WTF is a car company doing reporting the locations a customer drives to? This is a tremendous violation of rights and AFAIK it is utterly illegal for a private business to track customers much less share that information with others without their consent or knowledge. I mean it is illegal many places to even record a conversation so how can this be legal?

And what is a drug selling neighborhood exactly? Many places drugs may be sold also have homes and businesses that are doing nothing illegal.

nospacesorspecialcharacters (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Actually you are correct, laws that cannot practically be enforced bring the whole of the law into disrepute and therefore authorities should consider carefully what they intend to outlaw.

For example, if the government decided to outlaw wearing denim tomorrow, it would be petty much impossible to enforce… We’re not just talking about the denim revolutionaries either, we’re talking about millions of people who wouldn’t even realise there’s a new law in force!

So very bad laws get ignored, because its just not possible to enforce laws against things people take for granted. Therefore, in order to ensure people respect the whole of the law, its important to make sure that cancerous laws don’t spread and cause people to question obeying any law at all.

But that was probably not the point you intended to make.

Rikuo (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

This isn’t law. It is an agreement between two sets of corporations (ISPs and copyright maximilists) to do these things. Sure, there may be in the DMCA a requirement for ISPs to have a repeat infringer policy (I’m not going to bother checking, you quote it) but it won’t say what that policy must be.
This is all a system based on ACCUSATIONS. Nowhere in the Six Strikes is there talk of taking actions based upon convictions. All anyone has to do is accuse their next door neighbour five or six times and boom…punishment imposed.
It doesn’t matter that this has to do with the internet. It is a horrible thing for corporations to unilaterally roll out a policy of punishing their customers with accusations alone, forget any talk of evidence. What if cell phone companies suddenly have Six Strikes, and all anyone has to do is accuse you of making harassing calls to them six times, with no need for evidence or a conviction for the cell phone company to limit or block your service?

Casey says:

Hmm.. Not really.

It is against the ToS to offer free wifi to other people on residential accounts. If a person’s or company’s account gets affected by 6 strikes because they open their wifi to the public, too bad. They should have had a business account. They should consider themselves lucky for not getting charged breach of contract and forced to pay a cancellation fee.

I don’t like 6 strikes more than anyone else. But this is not a valid excuse for complaining about 6 strikes. Companies seem to think they have a right to use residential connections for business purposes. They will have to suffer the consequences.

Mike C. (profile) says:

Re: Hmm.. Not really.

Reading comprehension is a wonderful thing:

Especially troubling is that, as TorrentFreak reveals in the latest post on this, at least Verizon’s responses will apply to businesses as well.

And from the TorrentFreak article itself:

Finally, TorrentFreak also confirmed that the alerts outlined above will also apply to business customers.

In other words, for Verizon customers, it won’t matter if you have a residential or business account. 4-5 ACCUSATIONS (whether true or false) and poof – no more viable Internet connection.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Hmm.. Not really.

It’ll be funny when a huge Fortune 500 corporate business gets their internet service crimped because of a few employees using it for personal downloads. The large corporate entities like to think themselves above everything and will throw an absolute shitfit if their internet suddenly caps out at 256kbps.

And before anyone says anything of the sort, do you honestly believe that in a building full of thousands of people that 5 people downloading 5 songs will never and can never possibly happen? It’s almost a guarantee.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Hmm.. Not really.

I think it’s also worth pointing out that the static IP addresses of government offices, record labels and other similar organisations have already been found to be guilty of sharing various media.

Regardless of whether it was the act of an individual or a group, and regardless of their affliation or status within said organisation, it’s only fair that for each work they get a strike.

MrWilson says:

Re: Re: Re: Hmm.. Not really.

The problem is that since this is an agreement between companies, large companies will not find their internet connections flagged. You’ll get special neutrality-defying corporate customer accounts that are not subject to these strikes. It’s the star chamber all over again.

Otherwise the whole agreement would fall apart in a few days when every other company in the US turns on the **AAs and the ISPs for screwing up their internet commerce and communications practices.

No, only the 99% will feel the brunt of this.

Milton Freewater says:

Re: Re: Re: Hmm.. Not really.

“You can get a lot more than an early termination fee for doing so as the providers consider it stealing and the courts often times agree. “

You just showed your true colors, snake. The providers can consider it whatever they like … the courts and the law do not consider it in any way to be stealing.

If they did we wouldn’t need six strikes, dumbass. You don’t get to shoplift six times.

In fact, the obtaining of anything is irrelevant to this discussion. Bittorrent can be targeted because it involves distribution.

You are only here to lie and to bully people. Fuck off.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Hmm.. Not really.

what suprises me is that consumer law is so weak that a company can put in a clause that you cant take the company to court if you don’t like the service provided by the company, you must use a lawer friend of that company to determine if it acted fairly.

on a side note, types of low cost dispute resolution sevices have been implimented in the democracies around the world but only in the US has the system been made so slanted in favour of big rich companies.

Fred Fnord says:

Re: Re: You must be kidding


They have the other end of the connection. They can turn it off whenever they want. At that point, you have two options: go find another provider, or sue them.

Oops, no, wait. You can’t sue them. There is a binding arbitration clause in their end user agreement. So you have two options: go find another provider, or send some money to a company whose business model is taking money from users, taking more money from the telco in question, and then ruling for the telco in all cases, often with less than an hour of ‘consideration’.

Mandatory binding arbitration is legal in all 50 states. The only way around it is to not agree to it, and since it is a prerequisite for service with these companies, that is not an option either.

In short, the enforcement is built in, and there is no recourse whatever.

Samantha Atkins says:

Re: Hmm.. Not really.

Huh? Try to get a business account from comcast. They don’t have them. The internet is an utter necessity and should be considered as such just like phone service and electricity. It is not any of the internet providers business what I do with my internet connection as long as I am not utterly blowing out reasonable contract usage caps which should be specified upfront. Providers that treat their customers badly will lose business.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Hmm.. Not really.

I think this comes down to whether or not you believe that a service provider has the right to determine whether or not their consumer can share the service that they’ve paid for.

In the case of free WiFi – why should the provider have the right to say that I can’t have open wifi in my home? That I acknowledge that other people will use it, and I’m okay with that?

So then the argument is that I’m liable for the illegal things that they do. That doesn’t seem quite right though – if a drug deal happens in a grocery store parking lot, I don’t think that the store (or otherwise owner of the lot) is liable. Liability tends to focus on things like injury/negligence – someone got injured because the property was unsafe. The analogy there would be that you offered a free connection but then recorded their requests to grab their access tokens.

Matthew says:

Re: Hmm.. Not really.

Bull. Those terms of service are a violation of the principles of the Internet, which was built by We The People. The Internet belongs to us, not ISPs. The ISPs use it at our discretion. They charge for bandwidth available, not bandwidth used, or for who uses it – their terms of service may say otherwise in the fine print, but that isn’t the typical customers understanding, which makes the TOS tantamount to a contract signed without understanding, which is not legal.

If you bought a house and the agent (not even the builder, the agent) tried to tell you that you couldn’t sublet a room in it, would you accept that?

@pdxsays (profile) says:

Re: Hmm.. Not really.

ToS does not ban people from using your computer or their computer at your residence on your connection, and you are not responsible for their actions in these instances. Nor are you required to log who is at your house or if they have access to a wifi device while there. And this is the simplest of possible scenarios that fall outside the scope of Tos that reflect on your use out of care and custody, but on your wifi legitimately.

Basically, broadband is so ubiquitous, it is not reasonably possible to corral it from any use that the ISP doesn’t like, but is not under the subscribers control.

Die, Dinosaurs, die.

Reading is hard! says:

Re: Hmm.. Not really.

Did you even read the article? It says that this even effects business customers, you know? The ones with business accounts with the ISPs in question, here, I’ll copypasta it here for you since you can’t read:

“Especially troubling is that, as TorrentFreak reveals in the latest post on this, at least Verizon’s responses will apply to businesses as well. So that cafe down the street that has free WiFi… may quickly be throttled down to 256kbps. That will likely mean a lot less free WiFi out there, which is a significant and worrisome consequence of this program.”

Internet Zen Master (profile) says:

This should be interesting

On the one hand, it looks like we might see a couple lawsuits in the future when someone gets falsely accused of infringement, following the logic of “IP Address =/= Person, you can’t punish me for something I didn’t do.” Unfortunately, the “ip address=/= person” strategy isn’t precedent yet, so a judge could still decide against the defendant.

All the same, it’ll be interesting to see if this plan is implemented on time, or delayed again.

As the Zen Master says, “We’ll see.”

Ophelia Millais says:

Re: This should be interesting

Everyone who signs a contract with these ISPs has agreed to resolve any disputes with them through binding arbitration, sought in an individual capacity (so, no courts, and no class action). The terms of the Six Strikes plan also provide for arbitration. Also, the accused are not publicly named, and thus suffer no “harm” other than inconveniences that they signed up for in their ISP’s TOS. So there will be no lawsuits over this.

G Thompson (profile) says:

Re: Re: This should be interesting

Tell me if I’m wrong (not totally up on the weirdness that is US State law v. Federal) but doesn’t this binding arbitration (which every where else on the planet is unconscionable and instantly voidable) actually unenforceable in certain states.

And for you to state unilaterally there will be no lawsuits is silly since there have been major rumblings from a lot of legal sources over last few months (years) that that is exactly what will be happening as soon as these draconian policies of ‘civil policing via third parties’ are enacted.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: This should be interesting

Companies try this crap all the time. Just because you put something in writing in a TOS doesn’t mean it will hold up to scrutiny. Company’s post signs in their places of business all the time claiming that they are not responsible for various things that they legally are responsible for. This primarily serves the purpose of scaring people who don’t know better from suing them when something happens. However when the are enough people affected and the actions are as particularly egregious as this has the potential to be that scare tactic won’t be very effective.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: This should be interesting

You also see this sort of thing happen with worthless non-compete agreements that companies make their employees sign. Legally a company cannot deny someone the ability to use their skills to make a living. And if they leave the company they currently work for, a non-compete agreement that prevents them from working for a competitor often times does exactly that which is not legal. Employees that aren’t aware of the fact that the non-compete agreement is worthless bullshit are often scared of leaving to go to work for another company so to that end it accomplishes the goal.

Internet Zen Master (profile) says:

Re: Re: This should be interesting

I was thinking of lawsuits between the accused and the accuser (more than likely the one of the two **AAs), but you’re probably right. What bothers me is that they have a specific arbitration association already named in the Six-Strikes Plan, which means that customers have unknowingly agreed to use this group simply because they agreed to the TOS (which might cause one to question whether or not the AAA is a “disinterested third party” or not).

What bugs me even more is that the rules of evidence in an arbitration court are much more relaxed than in a normal court. Which means that in a worst-case scenario, it can come down to what the copyright holder says versus what the accused says. I’m not exactly a fan of that concept.

The bigger question is this: When is the plan being rolled out? I’ve seen “late January” on multiple sites, but no actual launch date.

As the Zen Master says, “We’ll see.”

Grrrraaghhgh_hhhg says:

Re: Re: This should be interesting

There might well be, depending upon the fine print of the agreements.

The accused might not be named publicly, by the way, but they can be identified to the copyright holder by the ISP if said ISP is ordered by a court, and we don’t know what conditions might provide for that order.

As for the inconveniences, it may be so that the user ticked a box somewhere agreeing to voluminous terms dictated by the provider; however the user has paid cash money for the service and I find it legally flimsy that the ISP’s could ever impinge upon the customer’s purchase without offering a refund or partial refund. ISP isn’t government at this point; it is a company selling a product to a customer and once paid for, no matter what the agreement was, that service should either be provided or payment refunded.

I don’t think there is a flaw in my logic re: refund. This idea should have been, and should be always, looming over the heads of ISP execs everywhere and if that happens I do believe they will realign themselves a bit more with their customer base.

Aria Company (profile) says:

In the meantime, I’ve been doing some homework on looking for a good VPN company to sign up with.

Sadly, like webhosting companies, finding a good source of information on the internet is about as effective as a Google search when looking for generic terms that always seem to point users to stores.


I suppose this will be a trying year.

jameshogg says:

Fucking love added value.

Hmm, gonna draw a picture of a spider with 7 legs, upload it to my computer, put up copies of said spider for sale on the internet worth $233.95 each, email copies to everyone everywhere using a spambot under an anonymous email account, and claim copyright infringement on all email recipients for stealing a copy of my spider.


Russell Alexander says:

Re: Fucking love added value.

I have a better idea. Why don’t you spend months recording an album, at the cost of several thousand dollars and Luis of work, or years writing a book, or a few thousand hours writing a program, and try to actually sell it. Then you’ll be justified in complaining about the evil copyright holders
I see plenty of problems with the six stile plan, but there’s even more problems doing nothing. Unless you’re a lowlife thief, of course, stealing music, books, artwork, programs, and movies. Then the status quo is just fine.
After all, why pay someone for something they’ve worked their butt off to create?
That’s just silly, isn’t it?

Anonymous Coward says:

“At least the RIAA has indicated that this is its interpretation of the DMCA’s clause that requires service providers to have a “termination policy” for “repeat infringers.”

No problem. Just word the termination policy so the alleged infringer has to repeat the infringement over a period of life plus 70 years before termination kicks in. It’s still technically a “limited time”, right?

But this part is bizarre.

“After the fifth alert, the content owner may pursue legal action against the customer,”

Oh man, they are going to get in SO much legal trouble over this. They’re basically implying that the content owner can’t go after them before the fifth alert. I can see it now: A customer relies on this, gets sued without getting a fifth alert, and then goes after AT&T for misleading them.

Shadow Dragon (profile) says:


I remember reading a story about this on Yahoo,the people that commented on this,not one was in favor of it. I figure that was primary reason why it was discussed behind closed doors due the huge protest against SOPA,PIPA,ACTA and TPP. This gonna be a nightmare for CCI if public becomes aware mass protests,lawsuits etc.I have feeling this would fall apart with all the other “anti privacy” measures.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

ISP’s have monopoly control of markets in several areas of the country, meaning customers can not vote with their wallets.
The accusations made have no tested legal basis.
Terms of Service and Acceptable Use Polices are being used to bind consumers to terms with no benefit for them, making them liable to protect a 3rd party they have no duty to.

I am entertained to see the RIAA/MPAA, which are giant parasites actively harming the industry they claim to represent for their own benefit, are being fed on by another parasite. No one has done much indepth looking at the history of Dtecnet, Markmonitor and now Reuters Thompson. They are collecting money claiming their magic system will end piracy forever, at every step along the way people with ties to the RIAA/MPAA have been lining their pockets with cash, using the mantle of piracy to get rich.

Google puts links to Google products on search results and get investigations… The copyright cartels make secret deals about using a secret system to benefit themselves in some way at the expense of consumers, and not a blip.

Dtecnet uploaded copyrighted work to the internet to collect IP addresses, to prove how bad piracy is. This is in the court records in Oz – AFACT vs iiNET.
If a drug enforcement agency put more drugs on the streets to prove how bad drugs were we’d arrest them for dealing drugs.

For much less than this secret plan is going to cost, they could have created a system that actually met consumer demand and stopped piracy by giving up on the mantra of but this is what we always make.

I look forward to the lawsuits, sadly they will be driven by customers. The AG’s seem to be to busy trying to sue Craigslist rather than be curious how monopoly players are abusing consumers for profit.

Chilly8 says:

Re: Re:

You would have a point. Virtually all new computers cannot use a dial-up modem, so its broadband or nothing for many users, and I think broadband providers know this.

Every computer I have purchased since 2005 has had no ports to connect an external modem, and no PCI slot for an internal modem. So, for me, it is broadband or nothing, since none of my computers can use dial up

Hephaestus (profile) says:

Yes, I understand this is morbid.

I am so looking forward to the time that they do this and kill someone. We are living in a connected world. A world where things like wifi connected heart monitors will happen in short order. I world where limited connectivity will mean death.

Seriously we all have wifi connecting cellphones. Throttle one of those when someone is dialing 911 over wifi and dying and what is your defense? Murder by Disney.

Hephaestus (profile) says:

Yes, I understand this is morbid.

I am so looking forward to the time that they do this and kill someone. We are living in a connected world. A world where things like wifi connected heart monitors will happen in short order. A world where limited connectivity can mean death.

Seriously we all have wifi connecting cellphones. Throttle one of those when someone is dialing 911 over wifi and dying and what is your defense? Murder by Disney.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Oh hey Mike, think you could reach out to Ms. Lesser and ask where the review of Stroz’s work is?
They promised an independent review of Stroz’s methodology in October, one would think it should be done by now.
Well unless of course someone refused to allow it to be released.

I wonder if 256k is fast enough to support Voip.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Oh I just want her to flip out when someone asks for it.
They tried sneaking Stroz past because no one was paying attention… they thought. And I think the RIAA blindsided everyone with that one.

I want to see them scramble to do what they promised, or add another tick mark to the column proving its still a secret system mean to be corporate law forced on consumers.

Anonymous Coward says:

the end result will be more people that just give up using the ‘net because trying to do things like banking, (which, incidentally, in a lot of cases, can ONLY BE DONE ONLINE!) becomes all but impossible or the whole issue is sent further underground. either way, considering the possible consequences will all be caused by industries that refuse to adapt, refuse to cater for customers and refuse to compete and by governments and officials that are more interested in continuing to get the payoffs from those industries and therefore grant their every wish rather than do what is right! how anyone can have the gall to state that enforcing more and more strict copyright helps innovation and progress is beyond me. help line the deep pockets of an elite few, yes, but that’s all!

CN says:

Won't kick people off.

So it’s quite likely that even if the ISPs have no official plan to kick people off the internet entirely under the plan, some copyright holders will still push for exactly that kind of end result.

ISP’s won’t kick people off. They don’t make money doing that. They will continue to charge them top dollar and give them poor service. You know, the same as they do with people who have not been accused of infringement.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Won't kick people off.

Disconnection was on the table from the beginning, one wonders what secret deals were made for content to get them to sign onto this.

The problem is the government on every level has handed these ISPs monopolies. The government is supporting this private corporate law making, where they should be raising red flags and standing up for the public.

Given the massive failures in the RIAA sue everyone plan, and the recent revelations in the porn copyright trolling operations, one can only hope this secret magical system will be viewed more skeptically.

Angry Voter says:

Break them up!

The content cabal cheat creators (proven in Canada courts) and cheat on their taxes (proven in UK courts). There have been several well documented cases where they bribed politicians by buying their terrible books and songs at crazy high prices (Congressional Ethics Committee). Members of the content cabal have gotten artists hooked on drugs (proven in courts of law) and even murdered them when they tried to leave the company (proven in courts of law). They are a criminal organization and should be treated as such.

The cable providers? They are utilities and should be treated as such. Cable lines were run on public land with public subsides but the profits are kept by insiders. All natural monopolies should be co-ops.

Daniel Joseph Calvanese (profile) says:

This law will have the reverse effect.

Please, bring this law into effect. Let it fail to stop real piracy, and let it drive people to develop their own hubs and libraries for their communities. The only true end result of this law is the obliteration of corporate control of information, and the birth of an unstoppable torrent of real content distribution.

I’m not just saying this for no reason. This idea has been implemented before. Have you ever set foot on one of those draconian college campuses that cuts students off from pirate websites? Their torrents stopped working. That didn’t stop them. They brought piracy inside their networks and created massive, well documented libraries of pretty much everything you could ever want.

That is the way it should be. No censorship, period! If that interferes with established business models, then change those!

The game changed. The only thing stopping piracy from exploding are these weak chains that the masses don’t realize they can break. Tighten them up, piss off the elephant, then get trampled by the irony of trying to stop something that could and should be helping your businesses.

Anonymous Coward says:

Hmm.. Not really.

This is an interesting thought.

There is quite literally NOT ONE SINGLE customer of any ISP in this country that WANTS this six strikes bullshit!!!

NOTE TO ISP’s that actually compete in some areas of the country:


This is akin to what would happen if a brick and mortar store strip searched all the customers leaving their store. All that a competitor would have to do to take away every customer would be to promise not to strip search you as you left the store…..

G Thompson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Hmm.. Not really.

Litigation for what?

There are no legal or otherwise reasons (and for those trolls the DMCA does NOT require this and it’s not a legal notice anyway) for ISP’s to implement these measures other than to kowtow to the huge hammer of “we have enough money to sink you into bankruptcy using the US court system”. Most countries and criminal investigative organisations call this extortion and/or duress.

In fact if they tried to do this the Content holders are liable to have a counter suit for Tortuous Interference placed upon them by not just the ISP’s but also the customers of said ISP’s. In fact this might already be in the works as a class action against the actual ISP’s who ARE implementing this.

There are major problems when you either mess unilaterally, or try to, with enough contracts and people en mass get the shits especially when they have no other recourse visa vis a competitor. Anti-trust problems too. but I digress

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Hmm.. Not really.

“the DMCA does NOT require this”

That’s not true. It’s in section 512 of the DMCA. The relevant section is quoted somewhere in the comments above.

You keep saying this like it is the Gospel truth, when it’s not quite that clear.

If I was a lawyer arguing for someone who’s account has been affected by this I would challenge that DMCA notifications alone would be enough to pass the bar of “actual knowledge”.

DMCA notifications are not a ruling of copyright infringement by a court of law nor are they any sort of confession of guilt by the accused. Until one those happens, they remain accusations.

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Hmm.. Not really.

The DMCA requires ISPs to implement a repeat infringer policy to maintain safe harbor. That’s it. That’s all I’m saying, and it’s in US code, Title 17, section 512 if you want to read it.

DMCA requires that a service provider have a policy to deal with repeat offenders that the service provider has “actual knowledge” of.

I’m saying I would argue a DMCA notification (or even many DMCA notifications) wouldn’t be enough to qualify as “actual knowledge”. DMCA notifications are only accusations and would not meet the legal definition of “actual knowledge”. Only a conviction or admission of guilt would do that.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Hmm.. Not really.

I see what you’re saying now; yes the ISP must have actual knowledge that there is infringement or infringing material is being transmitted. The way I understand it, the content owner contacts the ISP and tells them that a particular copyrighted work of theirs is being torrented. They then join a swarm and farm IP addresses. That’s a rough outline of what I believe is occurring.

btrussell (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Hmm.. Not really.

The way I understand it is, everything automatically has copyright. I could wrap this comment up in a torrent and make the same claim.

I can get people disconnected by convincing them to torrent my pictures I put up in a torrent.

Screenshots and pictures of IP address’ should suffice as evidence.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Hmm.. Not really.

So, where is the arbitration of such a claim?

It sure as hell isn’t a shitty piece of paper that says, “I am the owner of this content, and I can confirm 100% that that is an infringing copy because of XYZ hidden watermarks in the digital imprint.” That would state a reason for their notice. There is no such claim made tot he ISP account holder.

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Hmm.. Not really.

It’s irrelevant. The ISP’s are implementing, and challenging the DMCA isn’t one of the defenses. And if you take it to court and argue the DMCA, the ISP’S will unfurl the TOS and the judge will strike the gavel. Game over.

Well, I’m not so sure how binding a unsigned TOS really is.

I was responding to how valid the statement “that ISP’s have to implement repeat infringer policies” is.

I should have said I would argue the above if I was counsel for the ISP, not the accused infringer.

Although, if we are talking about a case where someone is suing the ISP for “wrongful disconnection” or something like that, it might be a valid retort to the ISP claiming they have to per law.

G Thompson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Hmm.. Not really.

Other than a wide range of problems under:
* exclusion rules (law students love these questions about tickets in reference to Parker.. HA),
* prior negotiation (or lack thereof)
* reasonable notice of onerous terms
* Terms to be in plain language
* Undue Influence (quite a big problem here)
* Non est factum – ie: mistake (don’t you love latin terms)
* Electronic signature (is it actually the party to the contract who physically clicked on it or someone else without capacity)

You then have the major problem of any browsewrap agreement (what this is) in that you have no constructive (or actual) notice of contractual terms prior to acceptance.

Though the big one (in this example you have given) is that the TOS states supposedly that if you “infringe” (which means you in actuality have to be found to of infringed.. not by allegation) they can REMOVE THE SERVICE!
It does not state on the product you originally signed up for anything else. Therefore terms have been changed without consent, and silence does not consent give in contracts other than in very specific circumstances- and these are not it

So No it isn’t ‘pretty simple’ in fact its a veritable nightmare of legalities under multiple areas of tort law for the ISP’s and the third parties (content holders).

Luckily I live in a country where consumer law is paramount, procedural fairness is bound in law, ISP’s don’t kowtow to egotistic corporations and where we can look on in wonder at the “Land of the Free” destroying itself more so than it tried to do in the 1920’s.

G Thompson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Hmm.. Not really.

Absolutely, a contract has to be negotiable and have consideration for all parties to the contract to be valid in the beginning. In fact before that the offer made has to be accepted (ie: acceptable) to the party(s) and to be reasonably acceptable it needs both equitable prior negotiation and no inkling of undue influence [both points I mentioned above too ;)]

When it comes down to it a contract is a promise to do something for something else, It isn’t a “you do this and we will do this because you have no choice nor say in the matter” That’s called extortion

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Hmm.. Not really.

See the little box that says: “Click here to agree and accept TOS”? If you click, you’ve agreed. If you don’t, you get no service. It’s pretty simple.

No, not that simple.

“Clickwraps” and “brwosewraps” are really not good enough to create legally binding contracts. Courts have more or less decided that clickwraps come much closer though. Even if a court finds these to constitute a valid contract, it still does not mean every individual term within it will be found legally enforceable.

Also, most courts have rejected the idea that the act of violating terms of service in of itself constitutes any sort of criminal activity.

E G Nyquist (profile) says:

Time and again, US legal precedent has shown that in fact a person can not be held accountable for illegal activity on an internet connection for which they are the account holder, unless it can be demonstrated that they were the perpetrators of said illegal activity.

In a similar vein, it has also been established as precedent by US law that an IP address is not a person, and that the association of an IP address with an unauthorized torrent is not sufficient grounds to disclose information about the account holder associated with that IP address.

This six-strikes plan represents, in essence, a conspiracy against the public in order to circumvent established legal decisions. Furthermore, it is a possible violation of anti-trust laws, since all of these ISPs have colluded together, at the strong urging of content providers…and that this collusion’s effective result is detrimental to the consumer and the public at large.

There will be lawsuits. And I think the reason for the delay of this program is that they KNOW there will be lawsuits.

Especially since any attempt to force this would have to unilaterally force the consumer to either wave their established right to sue in favor of arbitration that is not answerable to legal precedent, nor the typical appeals and judicial review measures present within the constitutionally-established criminal justice system.

This makes ATT’s assertion that an account holder is responsible for all activity on their internet connection dishonest. They have no legal authority to overturn established legal precedent by writing it away in their own terms of service. Readily giving the personal details of their customers to those who stand to gain financially from these customers through abuse of the legal system, without a subpoena, court order or search warrant, constitutes a violation of that consumer’s civil rights and their right to due process, and may be actionable in civil court under anti-defamation laws.

Legal arguments aside, the ISPs have a fiduciary duty to only two groups of people: their shareholders and their customers, not the MPAA and RIAA. They should not, and by some accounts may not, do the dirty work of the supply-side of that industry, to the detriment of your own. Such actions are contrary to this trust.

G Thompson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:


You should now change your ISP’s contract to state that for every 1Gb you transmit/receive that they will send you one [insert whatever legal substance/product you require].

Under all these legal assertions by the AC’s who are absolutely major legal scholars /sarc in all things contractual on here the ISP would be at fault if they didn’t.

My product of choice this month shall be beer!!!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

Always wondered about that. If a company can change the terms of a contract at will for any reason, why can’t I do the same as the other party?

Been thinking about alerting Comcast that I will now be invoicing them for every time they do something that makes me yell: This is why people pirate!

They might owe ME money by now.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

They’re not changing the terms of the contract; all TOSs specify that infringement is not allowed. How or when the ISPs choose to punish transgressions of this rule, is at their own discretion.

They’ve now decided to use a 6 strikes plan. That’s it. Nothing illegal or litigatble here, sorry.

G Thompson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

Wrong Wrong a thousand times wrong. Any change howsoever slight or pedantic that occurs within any terms, conditions, or extraneous footnotes of a contract is a CHANGE in the contract and MUST be fully negotiated no matter what you think.

Please desist from ever talking about contract law again since you are doing a disservice to yourself and making everyone else’s IQ’s slowly deteriorate due to your ignorance.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

Where’s the “change in contract”? First year law students are so annoying…

“AT&T may immediately terminate or suspend your Member Account and Sub Accounts, and all or a portion of your Service without notice if: (a) your payment is more than 30 days overdue; (b) you provide false or inaccurate information to AT&T; (c) you (or a Sub Account associated with your Member ID) violate this Agreement or the AT&T Acceptable Use Policy; (d) you (or a Sub Account associated with your Member ID) engage in conduct that is a violation of any law, regulation or tariff (including, without limitation, copyright and intellectual property laws)

So, please desist from ever talking about contract law again since you are doing a disservice to yourself and making everyone else’s IQ’s slowly deteriorate due to your ignorance.

G Thompson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Re:

You are citing Terms that are already in existence, whereas the terms that this whole article speaks of are only now coming into play. Which is what this whole thread is about. The unilateral changing of terms.

As well the new & changed conditions with their corresponding punitive actions (up to and including the pecuniary ‘fine’ of $35 that places onus on accused) are not part of any statute law, governmental regulation, nor tariff – and if they were we wouldn’t be having this conversation in this vein.

Also looking at those AT&T terms the violation means by any reasonable stretch a proven violation of stated rules etc. Though the bracketed “without limitation” could be construed as highly ambiguous and unenforceable on it’s face and you know that.

Oh and for your education I have taught 1st yrs ( currently lecturing 3rd years on IT Law & Ethics), and many aren’t nearly as illogical – though I have seen a few sadly lately – as what I have come to expect from the AC’s in here who deny change of terms is not just voidable on those terms but can also result in complete forfeiture of that contract.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:9 Re:

Good for you.

Now then:

You’re avoiding my question. Specify what the “change of terms” are.

And why are you calling a $35 administrative fee, “a fine”?
You’re aware that when someone goes to court there are costs the defendant is responsible for regardless of whether they are found guilty or innocent, correct? And that if you wish to recoup such costs an entirely separate court decision is required?

G Thompson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:10 Re:

What? the change of terms are specifically the new six strikes implementation that have or will be incorporated into the contractual terms . Be they part of the TOS or otherwise they are still part of the contractual terms.

This by any usage of the English language is a change. To change terms without allowing any reasonable negotiation with the parties to those terms (Both sides) is absolute grounds for termination of that contract with any and all remedies available to the aggrieved and damaged party (in this case the customer).

as for the $35 lets call it a Fee to prove innocence in a secret chamber, without due process, with no appeal ability outside of itself, with no ability to evidentially confront your accusers using an unbiased arbitrator using arbitrary rules, with NO transparency or checck and balances set down by a higher authority.

Yes of course it’s exactly the same as going to court. eyeroll

The $35 is basically being treated like a supersedeas bond when in fact it’s a “pay us to prove your innocence after an unfounded allegation that might or might not meet the bar of preponderance”

Maybe if the payment of an upfront ‘bond’ (and yes I will give you the benefit it isn’t a fine per say ) was with the condition that a ‘win’ for the respondent would not only receive payment back of the ‘bond’ but also recoup other reasonable costs then that would be equitable. Otherwise it’s a great way to generate a new and profitable income stream for the ISP, though I’m not suggesting it would be one – the ability for it to be abused is high.

G Thompson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Breaking what law? and maybe you don’t realise that before a law is ‘broken’ it needs to be proven to have occurred.

But lets not common sense and legal doctrine get in the way of your absolute belief that any term or otherwise ever put on any contract and then agreed to no matter how is then absolutely legal in every way shape or form.

In fact I think every solicitor/attorney who practices contract law should now basically give up because you have stated there is no point in it any more. It’s all absolutely black and white.

Good show.. You have just wiped out centuries of common law precedence.

I bow down to your awesomeness. Now.. can you do the same for Mondays?

G Thompson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

If their is no law broken – you know actual established statute law not made up arbitrary rules by some conglomeration who have no legal civil precedents to even back them up then again….


The only wilful ignorance is on the part of customers who are being misled by the ISP’s and content holders (and by inaction the FTC) and haven’t been given the correct information to allow them to equitably negotiate these new terms.

But lets not let things like unfair practices, anti-trust or unconscionable conduct get in the way of a making some corporations feel warm and fuzzy about there egregious business practices.

G Thompson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

No it isn’t, it’s UNLAWFUL and only when proven otherwise it’s just allegations.

You might learn the difference between illegal and unlawful. One is criminal, the other is civil/administrative.

I will leave it up to you to educate yourself onto which one is which.

TA? I’m going to go out on a limb and assume you mean some form of Tuition Adviser??? not sure though – different countries, different acronym terms, and attainment of my LLB was over a decade ago.

G Thompson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

If their is no law broken – you know actual established statute law not made up arbitrary rules by some conglomeration who have no legal civil precedents to even back them up then again….


The only wilful ignorance is on the part of customers who are being misled by the ISP’s and content holders (and by inaction the FTC) and haven’t been given the correct information to allow them to equitably negotiate these new terms.

But lets not let things like unfair practices, anti-trust or unconscionable conduct get in the way of a making some corporations feel warm and fuzzy about there egregious business practices.

btrussell (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

“There won’t be any successful lawsuits against the ISPs over this plan, if any at all are indeed filed.”

We are talking about the United States of America aren’t we?

As far as successful, no one wants to post a link to a TOS, so I am going by mine.

Where is this proof that I was engaging in illegal activity? I would like to know what my fine/jail term was and what court I attended. Kangaroo court doesn’t count.

Milton Freewater says:

Re: Re:

“This six-strikes plan represents, in essence, a conspiracy against the public in order to circumvent established legal decisions. Furthermore, it is a possible violation of anti-trust laws, since all of these ISPs have colluded together, at the strong urging of content providers”

They’ve colluded WITH content providers. NBC Comcast Universal is one company.

If this system ever goes live, expect a serious discussion about the Sherman Act with regard to content providers owning service providers …

… Especially in light of the smoking gun in the Verizon plan that after strike one, Verizon will encourage you to uninstall file-sharing software instead of educating you about avoiding unauthorized distribution. That’s rock solid evidence that this plan is intended to stamp out competition, not address illegal piracy.

btrussell (profile) says:

Re: Re: We will block YOU!

Switch or cut. Yes.

My provider was also my tv provider. They wouldn’t play ball regarding tv services. It was $X or $0 per month*. They chose $0. Two weeks later they called and asked how I liked satellite tv. I asked them why they couldn’t understand why I didn’t need their services, nor any others, like I had already fully explained to them.

*See fine print.

Milton Freewater says:

Re: We will block YOU!

“Six strikes legislation against customers will just result in those same customers cutting off access to their wallets leaving ISP’s grasping at straws.”

This plan is intended to maximize value, not profit. Its intent is to destroy Bittorrent’s customer base by any means necessary. You won’t be able to avoid it by not pirating, and that’s by design. Content providers want advertisers to see Bittorrent user numbers shrink and their colluders will sacrifice their own customer base to help. It’s textbook antitrust to me, but I’m not a judge.

Anonymous Coward says:

the change of terms are specifically the new six strikes implementation that have or will be incorporated into the contractual terms


See, this is why I doubt you’re even in school, much less licensed to practice law.

If you read the ATT TOS posted above you should know that implementing a 6 strikes policy is in no way inconsistent with the language they used in regard to how they can deal with infringement.

Get lost.

btrussell (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Repeat infringers =/= repeated accusations

Just because I call you an asshole 6 times, it doesn’t mean you are an asshole, just that I think you are one.

If you wish to explain that you aren’t an asshole, purchase 3 items from the techdirt store and you will be allowed to post again. If you don’t purchase at least three items, then I have proved you are an asshole.

G Thompson will be our impartial arbitrator to decide whether or not you are in fact, an asshole.

Milton Freewater says:

Re: Re:

“If you read the ATT TOS posted above you should know that implementing a 6 strikes policy is in no way inconsistent with the language they used in regard to how they can deal with infringement.”

Exactly right. But who determines whether infringement has occurred? These cases aren’t going to court so none of them are LEGALLY infringement.

We see how well YouTube handles the determination process when infringement is claimed. Now, apply that to the general public. Imagine getting a strike for sharing the Twilight-Buffy mashup, for example.

If strikes were handed out only for court-determined infringements, that would be fine. But six strikes does not use the legal definition of infringement. It uses one made up by colluders with an agenda. They’re CLAIMING that’s the same thing and they’re lying.