Data On 'Six Strikes' Suggests Little Real Impact

from the because-of-course dept

Academic research has already shown pretty clearly that so called “graduated response” programs, in which ISPs send out notices concerning alleged infringement under a varying number of “strikes,” don’t actually work, but a failure to be effective has never stopped the legacy entertainment industry from pursuing useless policies and programs. Earlier this week, the Center for Copyright Information (CCI), which administers the Copyright Alert System (CAS), better known as the “six strikes” program, finally released some data about the program. While CCI quickly declared it a success, a quick look at the data suggests a rather dismal failure in terms of actually mitigating any behavior.

The proponents of the program insist that mere notices (i.e., “education”) would lead people to suddenly stop their unauthorized usage ways, but that doesn’t seem to be the case at all.

While, yes, that shows a decreasing slope, there’s always going to be a decreasing slope due to the nature of time between alerts. And, really, if “education” was effective, you’d expect to see a much more massive decrease. As TorrentFreak notes:

…the repeat warning percentage of 30% is quite high, especially when one takes into account that people who received their first alert during the last month had little time to generate a second one. In addition, the detection rate is relatively low, not to mention subscribers’ use of anonymizing tools.

It appears that U.S. pirates are relatively persistent. In France, for example, only 9% of all the warned copyright infringers received two warnings, and that was after two full years. Also, only 0.029% of the French got a third strike.

While these “strikes” programs have their differences, the high number of second warnings in the U.S. stands out.

In other words, the data certainly suggests the deterrent effect of the program isn’t particularly powerful. Furthermore, it appears that there’s a rather significant error rate. After the 3rd and 4th alert, people can challenge the claims, and there were 47 successful challenges (out of 265 total challenges). Most of the successful challenges involved people claiming that others were using their account, but it certainly highlights the problem with these programs, when you are declared guilty first, and can then “pay” to challenge, you’d hope there wouldn’t be so many “errors” in the program. Either way, given the fact that these programs really appear to have little overall impact on the end user, it’s not surprising that so few challenge them in the first place.

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Companies: cci, center for copyright infringement

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Comments on “Data On 'Six Strikes' Suggests Little Real Impact”

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42 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Never mind the completely irrelevant fact that the six strikes program was not an enforcement of law but rather a private agreement among large corporations, some of whom are also, by way of vertical monopoly acquisitions, copyright holders.

But don’t let facts get in the way of your pithy, if tired, derision.

vancedecker (profile) says:

After downloading gay porn...

After a long night of downloading gay porn, Comcast sent me a notice months later warning me that should I continue downloading gay porn from CorbinFisher.com without paying that I would risk having my Internet shut down.

I immediately stopped and switched to my neighbors WEP secured wifi.

So, basically, contradicting your silly chart, it does have a profound effect on downloading pirated content.

gnudist says:

Re: Re: Re:3 After downloading gay porn...

I haven’t used grindr(I don’t use software thats not free as in speech) and I don’t make assumptions about behavior because it’s part of the attitude that is responsible for bigotry, anti gay or otherwise.

a lot of people don’t want gays to adopt because it’s assumed that “gay-acting” entails pedophilia for example.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 After downloading gay porn...

Can’t. They’re all born this way. If anyone disagrees, it’s because it’s all those nasty, close-minded Christians clamping them down. Gay love, rainbow flags and a dick in every ass is the way of the future. Christians to the lions!

Chris Brand says:

Re: The problem was...

No, the problem is that the penalties aren’t there. What’s needed is a good deterrent. Like “the first time you’re accused of infringement, we cut your left hand off”, “the second time you’re accused of infringement, we gouge both your eyes out”. Even better, we could post videos of the punishments online to show that we’re serious – we could even show ads to recoup the costs involved! Nah, that might not look good – better to get the state to pay the costs instead.

Anonymous Coward says:

Ironically, what isn’t represented is the possibility that not receiving notices when you are still downloading might bolster the confidence of downloaders, so a program like this that isn’t effective might actually increase unauthorized downloads. These stats only cover the people who were notified, which looks like less than a million, which is less than 1/300th of the population.

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